If things go as planned and March 2013 shows up like it is supposed to, I will have completed twenty years of retirement after a 40 year hitch at McGraw-Hill Inc. I left there in February 1993 and two weeks later I was embarking on another career, as one of the assistants in a golf pro shop, a private club, Winters Run Golf Club in Bel Air Maryland, doing 15 years there until forced by health to retire. If I could walk, I would still be working, enjoying golf and my family. As many of you may already know by the blogs I have written before, I have been working one way or another, including the military, since I was 12,and in my case I think this is what enabled me reach my 83rd year.
It got better as it went along, feeding my need for people. There were 70 years of “Thank you”, “Yes sir”, “No sir” and starting each day with a smile. I still address people of authority with “Yes ma’am” and “No ma’am” or “Yes sir” and “No Sir”, even if I am their senior. I even addressed my Mother and Father as Ma’am and Sir most of the time. My editor, who owns and runs The Zone Magazine, is probably more than 40 years my junior and I am very comfortable addressing her with ma’am. I also always address my elders, if I can find anyone older than me, with a polite ma’am or sir.
In no way are you demeaning yourself by just being polite. Most people, just by their age or position, are deserving of our courtesy and those who may not, or we think may not, can be won over by this simple pleasantry.
Part of every child’s education in their early school years should include common courtesy. But, as with all education, courtesy and respect have to begin at home. If Mom and Dad have no respect for each other or for authority, chances are the kids will grow up the same way. One solution for this problem of lack of respect would be a radical change in the way we raise our kids. It is done with success in other countries around the world and would work here if all children, rich and poor, were required to participate.
I am talking about a two-year mandatory service in the military (or in some other kind of service to the country for all others) as long as you are physically able. You would be paid enough to support yourself and the country would profit and benefit from your services. By delaying College for two years, most children would better know what they want to spend the rest of their lives doing. Most would quickly learn respect for authority, that there is a place we all start from in this world – at the bottom – and our behavior goes a long way to take us up the ladder.
Most kids spend the first three years of college, maybe all four years, trying to decide what they are they’re going to do with the remainder of their time on this planet, only to realize they wasted a lot of time finding their life’s work. I am not implying college is not something to aspire to, but two years of growing up might help with the long-term decision-making.
Now this would only work if that word “mandatory” was strictly enforced. The well-to-do owe as much or more to this country as someone from the inner city and in most instances they all need to learn respect for authority and courtesy. The country could be rebuilt and long neglected parks and wild areas could get the help they need. The two years spent in service to your country would be counted for your service time should you decide to stay in the Military or other government employment. If we don’t do something radical, we are going to “personal freedom” our way to the bottom of the pile and eventually right out of existence.