Working with the different generations throws up interesting comparisons. The great comedy sketch The Four Yorkshiremen shows four well-dressed men reminiscing about their childhoods. In trying to outdo each other, they exaggerate their poverty in turn. It is very funny and the punchline brings them together in condemning the young people of the day.
Then there is the supposed quote from Socrates who moans at the youth of the day: “The counts of the indictment [against youth] are luxury, bad manners, contempt for authority, disrespect to elders, and a love for chatter in place of exercise.” This was first summarised by Kenneth John Freeman, from his Cambridge dissertation in 1907 but may well have been spoken by Socrates and others of his time.
Each generation feels that the newer and younger ones have it easy and our grandparents may well have thought of us in the same way. This generation of young people however may have a different view. Economics, environment and politics can be argued to be stacked against our youth. Paying for pensions, dealing with climate change and votes on Europe have become areas of tension.
Are we treating our young people as the citizens of tomorrow and forgetting that they are, in fact, citizens alongside us today? Similarly, how can we expect them to follow our ways if it is exactly those ways have led us into such difficulties? My hope is that we empower our young people to find new ways of answering our human problems. My prayer is that they find new faith in themselves, in this world and in God the Creator, Saviour and Spirit.
Best wishes, Revd Kevin Chandra