Ubi peccat aetas maior, male discit minor.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 633)
When the older generation makes a mistake, the younger generation learns badly.
(pron = oo-bee pek-kaht ai-tahs mai-yor, mah-lay dis-kit mee-nor)
Comment: This proverb cuts in two directions. Certainly, when the older
generation leads the younger one in a bad direction, the younger one learns
badly. I look at the direction that the older generation of the 1940s and 50’s
(and many before that) lead in the south and other parts of the country with
their regard for African Americans. Born in 1959, I grew up in the Birmingham,
AL that was destroying itself out of that bad direction. There are people my
age who drank a deep dose of the racial hatred engendered by our elders, and
they will not recover from it.
But it is also true that when the older generation learns something and leads in
a healthy direction that the younger generation benefits from it. Far fewer
young people take up smoking cigarettes than they did 50 years ago because we
have learned very clearly that tobacco smoking kills. We have also learned
that a large number of students with a wide range of disabilities can learn and
have a right to a good education. I, like many other teachers, have students in
my classrooms right now who would never have been scheduled into a Latin class
because of their learning disabilities or because they were not stellar
performers in other academic classes 25 years ago, but we know something about
how people learn now that we did not recognize then, and so the younger
generation learns well from that good direction.
And, I might add: an older generation with an open mind often learns well from
the younger generation.
(Used with permission)
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