Some Thoughts on Aging and How We Treat Each Other

I remember that, as a child, I always looked forward to my birthdays, partly due to the fuss my family made with cakes, gifts and good wishes, but also because my un-mathematical brain told me that I was “catching up” to enjoy superior freedoms of those in their twenties and beyond.

I’m sure that all our views on aging vary greatly, based often upon entitlements at various stages, including a balance of responsibility in acting one’s age. The expectations for behavior of a two- year-old are quite different from those who are in their eighties, even though some folks in those later years can revert to infantile deportment through tantrums and demanding more attention with or without a bottle.

Self-control is something we learn as we age so that by the time we’re in fifth grade (or so) the rules are much clearer regarding tantrums and how we treat one another. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” gives us a distilled comment about all behavior. The question “How would I feel if someone did or said that to ME” becomes a consideration too many of us gloss over when we want to justify behavior that we know, deep-down, is simply wrong as we attempt all too often to tweak or rewrite the Golden Rule to suit our own egos and needs of the moment.

Still, my most vivid recollection of the Golden Rule’s enforcement by my parents goes back to the wooden paddle, kept on top of our refrigerator after the red rubber ball on string popped off. Red became the operative word to describe our “behinds” when we misbehaved beyond the limits our parents had set with great clarity.

I still wonder how many other homes across the nation had those paddles on their refrigerators then and now, and if there was a lasting effect on more of us than any of us could ever imagine.  JB

About John

About John John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BS and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado, where he resided for ten years before moving to Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth book is, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014. John’s most recent book is a novel titled Resisting Gravity, A Ghost Story, published the summer of 2018 View all posts by John →
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