Old or New? (Food for Thought)


Young people in every country seem to think everything has to be new. When I was in Romania, the young people heard I was watching classic movies, and they laughed. Here in Korea, before I was forced to change my phone, people would see my phone and say, “You need to get a new one.” Also, here in Korea, they are always tearing the streets up and redoing them whether they need to or not. In America, they like new ideas. They look to the youth thinking the youth will show them the way, but is that necessarily the best way? Do we all have to have the newest of phones? Are all the new movies better than the old ones? Are new ideas always better than the old ones?

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When the young people in Romania laughed at me for watching classic movies, I told them to try the old movies, and they did. Guess what! They actually liked the old movies. Here in Korea, we get all the new movies from America at the theater. and some of them are good, but some aren’t. If a movie has lasted the test of time and is still around it means it has value. Think about the movie “Gone with the Wind” with Scarlet O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Think about the western “Red River” with John Wayne or the movie “My Fair Lady” with Audrey Hepburn. Most young people don’t know who those people are, but they are worth while. In a Spanish class I was teaching in the States, there was a question in Spanish for everyone to tell who their favorite movie stars were. My son was in the class, and he said “John Wayne and Audrey Hepburn,” but the other students had no idea who he was talking about. What a shame! Can anyone say that a Batman movie is better than the play by Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet?” Just because a movie has special effects, is it really better than a movie with a good story? The new movies are praised for special effects, but when I showed my Korean students the movie “My Fair Lady,” they liked it so much they rewrote it into a play and performed it. They didn’t want to perform a Spiderman movie.

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What about the phones? Why did I keep my old phone so long? I looked around me and saw everyone with their new fancy phones. They had the nice touch screens, and most of them were broken. Either that, or they had broken them at one time and had to replace their screen or phone, and new phones are expensive. My cell phone had a cover on it. If I dropped it, it was just fine. I finally did replace it, but by that time, they had come out with new touch screen phones with covers. However, they are rare, so when people see my phone even now, they think I have an old cell phone, but it is one of the newest made. I have friends who kept their old phones for a long time too because they didn’t want to pay for a new one. Do we really need a new phone every year with the newest gadgets?
How about clothing styles? For years, women’s hem lines climbed. In the 1800’s, women wore dresses that came to their ankles, but every year, the designers made the dresses shorter and shorter until when I was in high school, we had mini skirts, but I didn’t like mini skirts. No one could move without something being seen they didn’t want seen in mini skirts. They came out with what they called granny dresses, dresses that came to your ankles, and I began wearing them. They were my favorite. Yes, Grandma may have worn long dresses, but they were much more comfortable. Now a days, most women just toss the dresses and wear pants because they don’t want to cope with shaving their legs and pantyhose. They are like wearing the long dresses again.

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How about morality? Is the new morality really the way to go? There was a time that there were two parents families to raise children. The father worked outside the home, and the mother’s focus was the home and the children. Mothers became good cooks, excellent seamstresses, chauffeurs, psychologists, etc. to take care of the family. Children grew up feeling loved and could play outside without fear of molestation. Mothers and fathers helped the kids with their homework. Now a days, most families are broken by divorce. A stay at home mom is almost non existent because everyone has to work to make it. Kids get sent to day care centers and are treated like they are on an assembly line. There isn’t much personal attention like they used to get from their moms. Who has time to help the kids with their homework? Who has time to teach the kids the difference between right and wrong? Kids grow up isolated from their parents. Dad doesn’t live at home anymore because he is living with his girlfriend or boyfriend? Oh, come on! What is more important, the kid or who the dad gets to sleep with? The mom is exhausted because she is getting the kids up, getting them ready, taking them to the daycare or to school, going to work and working all day, then coming home and heating up something from a box mix for dinner, doing the dishes, and falling down from exhaustion. That dad needs to rethink his priorities. Is sex more important than family? That is what America has come to. The kids can’t even play outside anymore because someone may come by and steal them or molest them sexually. Are the new ways really better than the old ways? Are the new ideas society is coming up with really better? Are Ellen DeGeneres and Whoopee Goldberg right? Or, should we rethink the direction society is going? Why shouldn’t we keep or go back to the values of President Abraham Lincoln? Is new always better than old?

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Needless to say, everything old can’t be better because some things break over time with use, but there are old things that are better. If we fix the old things as they break, they stay good. If a car has a mechanical problem, if you don’t fix it, it will cause another problem and make the mechanic’s bill even higher, so I always make sure the moment I know I have a small problem, I get it fixed. I have a car that is 5 years old that runs like a new car. You can take care of things. I always wanted a new house thinking if I bought it while it was new, then if something broke, I could fix it right away and keep it new, and I have seen people who have done just that with their houses. Maintaining something when it is new helps a lot, but it doesn’t make sense to fix things that aren’t broken. Yes, we have people who can make good new movies, but we don’t need to forget about the old ones because they have stood the test of time. We all learned we didn’t want the shorter hemlines. Now, America needs to learn that the new morality isn’t any fun either just like struggling in those short skirts wasn’t any fun. Our homes are broken, and our lives are broken. What is going to happen to the child who goes into the yard and gets kidnapped because his mother is at work and his dad is sleeping with …Steve? America needs to rethink things and go back to the old morality of one man and one woman for life. They need to fix the problems as they come instead of taking off and breaking up the home. When the dad who went to work everyday while the mom stayed with the kids, there was a real family, and they worked together to solve their problems. One stick breaks easier than a group of sticks. A family is better than one man running around looking for someone to sleep with or one woman trying to raise kids alone. Old ways work. Try them. Old movies are good. Try them. If that old cell phone works, use it. Repair what is broken, and don’t throw away good old things. Shakespeare is better than Batman because it has stood the test of time. We just need to update Shakespeare’s language to help people understand, and Shakespeare’s stories are so good that people use the story line to write new stories. Let’s not abandon everything old.

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