Friday, May 27, 2011

Just An Old Fashioned Girl

     I'm old fashioned. I came from a different era. I don't mind admitting that at all. I am going to be 49 yrs old in a little over a month and I am what I would consider middle aged (since I want to live to be 100 unless the Rapture happens before that). I don't mind coming up with the times and I enjoy many new inventions and can't imagine being without them. But I am unashamedly romantic and I liked the time when men would tip their hats at a lady and would open a door for every woman. I liked it when Sundays were for going to church and family picnics were the norm. I came from a time when neighbors helped one another and everyone knew who their neighbors were.

     But as I said before, I came from a different era. When I was a little girl, every morning at school we would sing O Canada and God Save the Queen and then we would recite the Lord's Prayer. It didn't hurt us one bit. I don't ever remember anyone complaining about doing it and really I think it did us a lot of good. For one thing it made us learn the national anthem and to this day I still know all the words to it and sing it proudly at hockey games and wherever else it is sung (although learning to sing part of it in French did get me a bit confused). I am surprised when I go to these public events and the anthem is sung, how many people don't know all the words. But then again why would they? If they are younger than I am, they may not have grown up singing it every morning in school.

     Next we would stand very straight and sing God Save the Queen. We loved our Queen Elizabeth. She was our monarch and we knew that we were a commonwealth of Great Britan. We were loyal to the Crown and we were her subjects. Although we had separated ourselves from England in 1867 my grandmother always flew the Union Jack and refused to acknowledge the Canadian Flag at all.  I  remember getting a shiny gold maple leaf pin one day in school in 1967 to commerate Canada's 100th birthday.

      Finally before our day began we would all recite the Lord's Prayer. It started our day off right. We showed our loyalty to the nation, to the crown and to God. No one ever refused to do these things. There were no parents complaining. We just did it. We don't do this in schools anymore, that I know of and that's a shame. I don't think it has improved our society but I do believe it has seriously harmed our nation.

     When we were in grade 5 the Gideons came to the school and gave everyone a shiny silver New Testament. I don't remember anyone refusing one and I can remember how proud we all were to take our New Testaments home to show our parents. Many of us read the plan of salvation written in the back of the book and said the sinner's prayer and asked Jesus into our hearts so that we could write our name on the line provided there.

     When I was growing up we were taught to respect our elders, that meant everyone older than we were. It meant speaking when we were spoken to, it meant not talking back and it meant doing what we were asked to do. Why did we have to stop these things? I don't know, but I actually liked it better when kids didn't sass adults and I liked it much better when I complimented a child on a pretty outfit that they actually acknowledged the fact that I spoke to them and knew to say thank-you. I know, I know..... I'm old fashioned.

       When my grandmother and mother went to school, penmanship was really emphasized and because of it they both had beautiful handwriting. When I went to school, we had penmanship but it wasn't stressed and as a result I have atrocious handwriting. I have a combination of writing and printing that passes as handwriting. But one thing that was stressed when I went to school was spelling. We were taught to sound out words and we would have Friday spelling bee competitions. I don't know if schools actually stress those things now or not but I wonder when I hear people speaking in 'text'. That's just weird.

       Many times things are 'phased out' because we allow them to be. It is a gradual thing where we stop one thing and then another, and finally over the course of many years we are no longer the same society that we once were. Sometimes the changes are for the better but sometimes I fear they aren't. I'm just an old fashioned girl.

      I long for a simpler, more gentle time when people were proud of their country, showed loyalty and respect to others and loved God. But I can't live in the past. I have to decide to be like today's society or to maintain the standards that I was taught and brought up with all those years ago. I will still use manners and respect and be an example as much as possible. I try to answer rudeness with kindness and seek to make a difference in my world today. I'm glad that I had parents and teachers who cared enough to pour into my life and teach me right from wrong. I'm glad they insisted on manners and punished bad behavior. It didn't kill me. It didn't make me hate them or resent them. But it DID make me into who I am today: just an old fashioned girl.


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