Virtues often lacking in youth of today

By Judy Brandon: Local Columnist

Several months ago, I had a doctor’s appointment here in town.

On the day of my appointment, I arrived to find the waiting room full with only one seat available.

After signing in at the desk, I took that seat and sat down next to young man, about 15 years old. He was tall and the youngest patient in the room. He wore a baseball cap and a shirt with skull and crossbones on it. Stretched out in his chair with arms folded , the young man’s long legs and Nike-clad feet seemed to occupy half of the waiting room.

Sitting along side the teenage boy, I couldn’t help but notice what went on.

I guessed the woman next to the young man was his mother. Occasionally she would say something to him. If he responded, it was a low mumble.

Once she reached over to touch his arm and he jerked it away.

Then the office door opened and an elderly lady, probably in her eighties and using a walker, maneuvered her way into the waiting room.

The woman accompanying gave her name at the desk and then scanned the room to only see that that there was no available seat. The teenage boy sat still, legs stretched out far into the space in front of him.

I waited for the young man to get up and give the lady his chair. When he didn’t, echoes of my mother’s instructions from my childhood came to me. She believed that it was only proper and polite to get up and offer an older person your seat if there was none other available. She instructed Susie and me to be the first to offer in any situation.

So when I saw that the young man was not going to budge, I did just that. I got up and offered the elderly lady with the walker my chair.

The elderly woman started her slow trek over to my chair. I still thought the boy would at least sit up and move his legs but I was wrong. So to get to the chair I had given her, this little lady on a walker had to maneuver around the kid’s long legs so she could sit down!

As she was making her way around him, the young man mumbled just barely audible for me to hear: “Hurry up old lady!” I was stunned with disbelief!

The elderly lady hadn’t heard him but insensitivity shocked me. As if that was not enough, the boy’ mother just sat there. She didn’t reprimand him or help the old lady. She sat in silence.

Finally, the elderly woman made her way around the boy’s long legs to take her seat. As she sat down, the nurse called the young man for his appointment. He rose slowly and strolled arrogantly out of the waiting room.

One of the tragic signs of our day is the decline and rarity of virtue, an attitude of selfishness toward others that says, “me first.”

I have some teens in my college classes who are remarkable young people. I know some good examples of those in our church as well.

I also know that Jesus’ words “do unto others as you would have them done unto you,” is timely and timeless. Perhaps we all, whether young or old, need to think more along those lines.

Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: