Minute #590: Generation Gap

Joseph walked by the same corner he passed every day on his way to work. The old, quaint neighborhood in which he lived stood in stark contrast to the hi-tech modern city in which he worked. The streetlamps along the tree-lined promenade were from a time long past. The homes that lined the streets were built to suit the tastes of a generation that had, for the most part, passed on. Joseph felt his neighborhood was a peaceful oasis from the maddening environment in which he had to earn a living.

Suddenly he noticed a light square of new concrete covering a small area where the public telephone had been for at least 25 years. Although updated from time to time, it had been a fixture that most young people didn’t even notice. The convenient hand-held gadgets in current use made this device nothing more than a little-used relic on the corner.

When he got home, his wife was playing with their granddaughter.

“I don’t believe it!” Joseph exclaimed. “They’ve taken the phone booth off our corner.”

“What’s a phone booth?” the precocious child asked.

“It’s a place where people who aren’t home can make calls,” Joseph replied.

“Why would anyone need that, Grandpa? My mommy and daddy never leave home without their phones!” she said.

Times are changing. Life is moving quickly as new developments and breakthroughs are discovered at high speed. The things people took for granted just 50 years ago are the stuff of history books and museums today.

The links to the past are the members of the older generation who have seen both worlds. It’s important that they share time with the younger generation to inform them of the past. Not only of the “things” of life but more so the “way” of life. We’re a people of tradition and our children must feel the connection to our past — its values and its mores.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

Certainly we have been “selected for a special task or role in life.”…[O]n the individual level each Jew must have at least some of that cosmic task allotted to him. (Rabbi Akiva Tatz, Letters to a Buddhist Jew, p. 98)