Having paid our respects this past memorial day we felt it appropriate to reflect on the the 'life lessons' of a generation that we are losing every day. Known as the 'greatest generation' these folks grew up in the depression and many served not only in WWII, but some in Korea and even the early stages of Vietnam.
Many have reflected on the humble and thrifty nature of a generation that grew up during the depression era of the late 1920's, early 30's and what that period taught them about survival and making do.
In the many books that have been written about this generation a few core values seem to repeat themselves over and over again, values that seem timeless, regardless of what generation you are from.
Somewhere along the line, as technology has taken over and life became more convenient, It seems our society lost the understanding that work is supposed to be hard. That's why it's called work. The Greatest Generation wasn't afraid of hard work; on the contrary, they welcomed it, knowing that putting in 100% every single day is the only way to get ahead, and that the best things in life are the ones we work the hardest for.
The Greatest Generation was not afraid to step up and take personal responsibility. They didn't expect someone else to solve their problems; instead, they each realized that they were a critical part of the solution. In fact, they embraced the opportunity to be the solution rather than the problem. Moreover, they were willing to accept the consequences of their actions, whatever they may be.
Reuse and Recycle
They were the original recyclers. Those who were raised in the Depression seem to have an innate sense of frugality and thriftiness that has been completely lost in our consumer-driven, practically disposable society. That generation knew better than to waste its resources, instead sticking to the mantra of "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." They were grateful for what they had, and understood that material possessions were not the answer, nor the keys to happiness.
Love and Loyalty is everything
Back in the day, commitment and loyalty mattered. Marriage was for life. There was no underlying idea that if it got too hard you could just quit. Moreover, people actually trusted each other and a person's word was their bond. It was indeed a time where the Golden Rule-Love your neighbor as you love yourself-was actually practiced on a daily basis.
See the bigger pictureThat generation believed whole heartedly in something bigger than themselves, in faith and freedom and opportunity. They were willing to fight for it. They were willing to die for it. Rather than ask, "what's in it for me," they looked around them to see what they could do for the cause. They knew their efforts mattered, and they were willing to embrace hardship for the sake of a greater cause.
At APlus, we do our very best to put a little of these values in everything we do and we thank, every day, those Veterans for giving us the freedom to practice them.
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