Older generation embraces change, even if you don’t see it

King Whitney Jr. said, “Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful, it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.”

I recently overheard some individuals comment that older people are set in their ways and are negative toward change. I doubt if the younger generation really understands the changes that older people have gone through and embraced over the years.

For example, folks of my generation have gone from a wall phone with a party line to cellphones/smart phones. When you are out and about, take a notice of how many older people are using them. It’s surprising.

Another big change many elderlies have welcomed is the modern-day computer. Joyce Natzke of Bonduel is one example. Joyce gave me permission to mention that she turned 90 on April 8. She is currently sharing her autobiography on social media. In addition, she writes articles for the Bonduel Community Archives newsletter, by using her computer.

While older people may learn a little slower, and eyes may not see quite as well as they used to, the older generation has a “can-do” attitude. We learned on standard typewriters, then electric typewriters and now computers, notebooks and iPads.

Elderly people in our community supported referendums for building new schools, even though their own children are grown. They realize the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow. They don’t mind paying their share to help educate the youth and they want to see them have quality schools and quality teachers.

The older generation has seen the change from wood cook stoves to modern-day self-cleaning ovens and microwaves. We’ve gone from wooden spoons to electric mixers and from stovetop coffee pots to Keurigs.

The world is changing, society is changing and Shawano is changing. Many of those changes are good and positive, but there are a few things that seniors don’t view as positive changes.

Christianity is being challenged, and unfortunately, some of our young families are not attending church. There are many churches in our community. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the pews filled on Sunday morning? We need to remind our youth and young families that God loves them and wants to see them in His house.

Another change many of the older generation do not agree with is what the FCC currently allows on television. For example, married couples, in 1950s TV-land, slept in separate beds. Nudity was not allowed. I remember Elvis Presley wasn’t shown from the waist down because some felt his gyrations were offensive. What was once wholesome entertainment has been replaced with portrayals of crime, sex, foul language and violence.

Video games are a current favorite of many young people. I loved playing Pac-Man and Donkey Kong with my grandchildren. However, I would not love playing those games that focus on shooting, punching and killing. There is so much violence in today’s world, our kids don’t need to be playing games involving hurting others.

Many amazing accomplishments have been from the “older” generation. Examples: At age 77, John Glenn became the oldest person to go into space. At age 80, Christine Brown of Laguna Hills, California, flew to China and climbed the Great Wall. At age 81, Bill Painter became the oldest person to reach the 14,411-foot summit of Mount Rainier. At age 84, W. Somerset Maugham wrote “Points of View.”

At 88, Michelangelo created the architectural plans for the Church of Santa Mari degli Angeli. At 94, comedian George Burns performed at Schenectady, New York, 63 years after his first performance there. At age 95, Nola Ochs became the oldest person to receive a college diploma. At 100, Frank Schearer is reported to be the oldest active water skier in the world.

Change is an inevitable part of life. So many wonderful changes have taken place during my lifetime. Without all the progressive changes in the medical field, I probably wouldn’t be here today to write this article, and many of you wouldn’t be here to read it. Modern conveniences have made life easier. The progress made in the world of technology has allowed me to communicate with relatives in Denmark I have never met. I’ve also been reunited with former classmates and old friends.

The world will continue to change, society will continue to change, and so will the community we live in. Don’t discount the older generation when it comes to embracing and accepting change. Age does not hinder senior citizens from having sound constructive ideas or amazing accomplishments. We have survived a lifetime of change. We realize, when we are through changing, we are through.

Can you name the three nursing homes in Shawano in 1959?

Clothesline Conversation Answer: Bide-A-While Rest Home at 131 LaFayette St., Ogden’s Home for the Aged at 121 S. LaFayette St., and Shawano Rest Home at 331 S. Main St.

Lorna Marquardt is a former Shawano mayor.