NORTHUMBRIA – Keith Jackson writes and I too have begun to worry that many people under the age of 40 have lost resilience, stoicism replaced with almost permanent protestations of victimhood.
Or who exhibit grievances with so much of what is said to them or by being exposed to unavoidable circumstances like the Covid pandemic.
I’m also aware that, as a teenager, I grew hair that covered my ears and linked arms with girlfriends who wore the briefest miniskirts.
At that time, many men who were the same age that I am now, would raise their eyes to heaven and wonder whether the world they valued was spluttering towards a dark grey end.
It's strange that stoicism, simple acceptance of prevailing circumstances, may once again be recognised as a primary virtue.
Until five years ago, I regarded my own embedded grin-and-bear it attitude as a handicap because I feared that simply stomping on despite the difficulties might stifle flexibility and curb lateral thinking.
But now I worry that if those under 40’s don’t stiffen up before they reach critical points on society’s decision-making ladder, their only way forward will be downward.
Just as worrying is the emerging political response to a habitually whinging electorate that Keith outlined.
Now approaching my mid-70s, I accept that much of the code that shaped me was picked up in the village Methodist chapel.
I rejected its rituals at 18, and haven’t been back since, but my brothers agree with me that each of us have accepted that the ingrained Calvinistic stoicism must be called on when times get tough.
Resilience was of course abundantly evident when I arrived in Papua New Guinea.
What else but resilience did a matriarch call on as she struggled up an endlessly steep mountain path with 80 or 100 pounds of kaukau in the bilum slung from her head?
Perhaps stoicism may linger in PNG even as Australia and other confused democracies lose their grit and they fade and are overtaken.
Perhaps enough young people in all countries may be able to find perseverance and maintain stability.
Then again, it could be that many people will dissolve into a morass of near permanent personal complaint.
And, I know, I’m almost echoing many of those people of my grandparent’s generation, who would look at my long hair with such disapproval.