Who Said Youth Must Be Served?

Go type into a search engine box “who said ‘youth must be served’?” You won’t get the answer you’d expect. Instead of showing you several links to the story behind the origin of this saying, you get various news articles about giving in to the young generation. It seems no one wants to take credit for such a remark.

Is there a court of law where you certify famous quotations and the objectivity to which they hold? If so, I’d like to object and offer my competing truth.

As a baby boomer generation kid I was always told to shut up because children should be seen and not heard. I was also told to respect my elders and give up a seat on the bus or train to one if the situation required it. I was also told to help an older person if it looked like they needed it. I remember one time as a kid an eccentrically dressed old lady saw me walking on the street at the corner next to the building in which she lived. She was toting some grocery bags and asked me if I would help her get them into her apartment. I didn’t know her and naturally was scared but I knew my sense of duty and off I went. After I was finished, she offered me a tip which I declined but she insisted and, well, it would help me buy some more baseball cards. I reluctantly (yah, sure) accepted it.

Another time, when I was somewhat older I was walking on the block east of where I lived back from a friend. An elderly man saw me from his apartment’s front window and started yelling at me. I knew he and his wife were my father’s friends and expected that they would not act like an enemy. But he was saying very nasty things- accusing me of stealing stuff from their apartment. I ran home and told my father what had happened and he said to forget it. It wasn’t until many, many years later that I learned about dementia. In my youth (oh, boy- that word!) I just thought that older people got a little forgetful and confused. Nowadays, it seems as if having dementia is in vogue.

My aunts and uncles were always addressed first with the title and then their name. If I even thought about saying just their name in discussing them with a parent, I would have been slapped silly. I have friends who let their children call their one grandmother by her first name without the title even to her face. When I saw this firsthand and said something to her as to why she allows it, she just smiled and said it is flattering. This way she feels like she is their friend and not someone with an element of authority over them. Geesh! Hey, I’m just as guilty. The only time I hear “uncle” sandwiched with my name is when a niece or nephew is looking for something out of me.

Let’s see- older, aged wine is usually considered better than something just off the vine, right? And although the special rookie athlete can make a splash and do damage, it is usually the wily veteran who is relied on to carry the team to victory. And antique cars are prized more than a new Ferrari. Just ask Jay Leno.

As for me, I’ll be glad for the day that I’m considered old by the U.S. Government and they give me a pension as well as assistance in paying health related bills. Uh, they will, right?

3 thoughts on “Who Said Youth Must Be Served?”

  1. I too was raised to respect my elders. I also have fond memories of my elders setting me straight when I went wrong, giving me and my friends free snacks from their bakery stock, paying me to mow their lawns. I understand now that the reason “children should be seen and not heard” is about learning from our elders. As to “cashing in” in your old age, that depends on who you vote for. Finally, Youth must be served? Ha! Only if it’s veal.

  2. The way youth is being served nowadays will result in youth being served for dinner later in life.

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