Friday, July 20, 2007

What Goes Around, Comes Around.

I'm still working on Ronald Reagan's autobiography. He tells a story of when he was governor of California during the days of college campus riots. The University of California students sent a delegation of student leaders from all nine campuses to meet with Reagan. He describes these students as being "anti-establishment". The students started their meeting with this disclaimer:

"Governor, we want to talk to you, but I think you should realize that it's impossible for you to understand us...It's sad, but it's impossible for the members of your generation to understand your own children...You weren't raised in a time of instant communications or satellites and computers solving problems in seconds that previously took hours or days or even weeks to solve. You didn't live in an age of space travel and journeys to the moon, of jet travel or high speed electronics..."

I love Reagan's response. He said:

"You're absolutely right. We didn't have those things when we were your age. We invented them."

I'm going to remember that line for when my kids are old enough to think I'm old-fashioned and out of touch with modern life.

I also thought it was really interesting that those students were saying those things in the late 1960s. I wonder if those students were able to see the irony when their own children - my generation - said the same thing to them. I know that people my age accuse our parents, who came of age in the late 1960's, of not understanding us because they were raised in such different times. We tell them that they do not understand this age of computers, high speed electronics, and instant communication. And I'm sure our children will say the same thing to us.

I remember once in high school when my best friend was explaining a teenaged dilemma to her mother. She was saying, "You don't understand, Mom, it's different from when you were in high school." Her mother responded, "Well, it's not, but you're going to think that it is, so go ahead." She knew that she could understand the pressure and difficulties her daughter was facing, but she also understood that her daughter would never believe that she understood them. I think that was very wise of her.

There really is nothing new under the sun.

1 comment:

linda said...

Reagan's response is priceless, isn't it? I sometimes feel like politicians have everything written out for them that of course they sound smart when they're reading a speech. This reminds me that some politicians are probably brilliant in their own right.