Signs of the Times

The Ozark Visitor

Dr. M. Graham Clark, President The School of the Ozarks in The Ozark Visitor Point Lookout, Missouri

Pick up any periodical, listen to any lecture or sermon and almost invariably you encounter opinions about the conflict between the Then and the Now generations. That conflict exists is undeniable but unfortunately the symptoms instead of the causes receive the most consideration and the conflict escalates. The conflict results not because most young people do not have ideals but because they are so often alienated from a central core of values or are confused as to a direction for their lives. This has been the result of their questioning values professed by members of the older generation. They do not necessarily believe that those old values are wrong but rather that too often they are not taken seriously enough....

Some decry the phenomenon as arising out of a generation gap and either violently oppose any action or seek to become a part of the Now generation. Both may presuppose the generation gap to be abnormal and regrettable. It is normal and should be challenging. ... With the span of life being extended and knowledge compounded these gaps promise to become even greater in the future. Instead of being regretful or resentful because this condition is a fact of life, we need a more positive approach to our conciliation. Students ... want to be taken seriously and want us to listen and respond. Instead of trying to force the new young people into old moulds or us trying to be "one of the boys or girls" and fit the new emerging moulds, it would be far more productive if each generation would learn to respect the other and ... seek to develop a fruitful relationship....

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March 6, 1971

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