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There’s this particular young man who made an impression on me recently. A good one, I mean. He was looking for employment and I happened to sign him on with my company. Anyway, it was a really simple incident, but his sincerity won me over. I really hope that he’ll do well in this place…and build up more confidence along the way.

The older generation often berates the younger ones for being self-centred, rude, apathetic and classifies them as the ‘generally unable to take hardship’ lot. I must admit that I’m guilty of doing that. Berating the younger generation, I mean. However, as I looked into the face of the young man standing before me that day, noted the perspiration on his brow and the breathlessness in his speech, and realised that he ran from the bus stop and up the stairs to my office just so that I can go home on time, it dawned on me that:

An older person might not have done that.

By ‘older’, I mean those more mature…and yet still have the stamina and capacity to run.

Pride. And a certain measure of self-assuredness. When you’re older, you’re wiser due to your life experiences, and you’re more confident in your own skin, and that includes confidence in your thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. This confidence is healthy, but if not balanced with a healthy dose of humility, encourages one to be overly protective of one’s ideas/beliefs and ultimately makes one resistant to change. I hope you realise I’m not saying this is always the case.

In this day and age where people are more savvy about technology, a phone call would have sufficed. True, but call me old-school, for I think something done with blood, sweat and tears is irreplaceable. Maybe this has to do with the fact that my dad takes charge of the repairs at home. Simple things like changing the light bulbs, cleaning the video heads (yes, those were the days!), fixing the water tank for the toilet, etc. It instilled in me an expectation that men should know how to do all these, and I realised that alas, it doesn’t work like that all the time.

Went out for dinner with a friend on Friday, and by the time we got home, it was Saturday. We spent a long time talking about religion (well, he shared his Faith), about life, about politics…a lot of things. Out of the many things we discussed, one line he shared stuck with me.

I will walk in the Path of Humility.

I’ll do well to keep this firmly in mind. Being one with very strong convictions about certain things, I don’t change my mind easily. I’m hard to convince and am persuaded by logic rather than emotions. I don’t underestimate emotions though. In fact, facts may present one thing, but I’m known to favour instinct over data. What can I say? I’m a calculated risk-taker…I’m also too bloody confident that what I foresee will come to happen.

Let’s talk about things that I’m confident about; my memory, my brains, my writing prowess, my ability to win people over (if I want to)…The list can go on, but I shall suppress myself. There you have it. I am Arrogance Personified, it seems. DBS once professed that it seems that Hao(4) Lian(4) changes her name to L*** sometimes.

Going back to the criticism of the younger generation I touched upon paragraphs back, I must say that youth is not a sin. Not having undergone hardship is not a sin. When the older generation bemoans whatever it is they do about the younger ones, I believe they are lamenting the loss of certain values. Some things shouldn’t be compromised, especially values and virtues…but when you criticise another, it’s also true that you put yourself in a higher position than the other. In the process of doing that, you may neglect to search inward and lend your ears to the voice that I believe we all have within.

The young man I mentioned in the beginning of this article reminded me not to have certain preconceptions about others based on their age, gender, race, and religion, etc. We all fall too easily into this trap now and then. He reminded me that there are qualities that the young possesses (passion, idealism, and less fear of the unknown, to name a few) that I must not forget about.

The Path of Humility.

Now that’s a thought to ponder over.