Do we really live in a caring society?

Picking up then from a previous thread!
I guess all of us over the age of sixty look back and look at the past through rose tinted spectacles! I was brought up in London in a street of terraced houses built just before the War… with many buildings and their occupants showing signs of that conflict. We were a mixed lot but I remember so well that we all looked after each other and kept an eye out for when we could help out…not because we felt we should but because we genuinely cared about each other. People took it in turns to baby sit, help the oldies and generally “be there” for each other…we didn’t need social media to tell us someone was in need…the grapevine just passed it on!
When people got old the younger ones took it in turns to cook meals, cut hedges and pop in for a chat…when children went out to play in the street the older generation peeked out from behind their net curtains to keep a watchful eye! When people talked to each other they also listened…and respected views different from their own…no trying to impose their perspective and shouting to be heard! We cared and we respected. When someone died the curtains were pulled and we all went to the funeral…and we continued to support those left behind in whatever way we could for as long as we could.
As the country got back on its feet people began to be more financially secure…better education gave us the chance to spread our wings and families began to disperse .in the late sixties and early seventies our community became less communal and self interest and social improvement began to take over.
However, In the early nineties I was privileged to teach in the East End and was once again immersed in community and mutual care such as I had known in my childhood…different races, different housing stock but common human kindness and respect restored my lagging hope in “society” and its changing priorities.
What has happened in the intervening years? How have we changed so quickly into a society whose members are always so busy that there is no longer any time to stop and stare, where instead of giving of ourselves it is easier to use our mobile phones to donate online and expect someone else to do the hard work , where we have lost sight of our basic humanity, where we offload our responsibilities and where those who shout the loudest and longest seem to come out on top?
I know I have been as guilty as anyone else…so immersed in my life with Barry … in pursuing and preserving our own well being… that I forgot all my fellow travellers struggling along much rougher paths. Now, though, my loss and subsequent grief has awoken my conscience and made me so much more aware of the needs of others and “society’s” apparent failure in meeting them. Does anyone else feel the same or have I really lost the plot?!

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That’s a very interesting read and about as far removed from my experience of childhood as one could get. I was born in a small village in the Yorkshire Dales and in many ways it was like being brought up on a small island. It was fairly typical of the area immortalised by James Herriot in his books, and a lot of the filming for the BBC was done locally.
Life changed dramatically when I moved to the West Yorkshire conurbation at the age of 10.
I’m going to come back to the thread later as I’ve just been invited out to my daughter’s for tea ( that probably translates to supper or dinner in some parts).

It’s tea for us YorkshireLad. Supper is a snack before bed which was usually a glass of milk and a biscuit for us when we were kids. Dinner is what most people now call lunch. Well, that’s that out of the way!

That’s quite some post Amelie’sgran and very interesting. Times have changed enormously. I think our lives are so busy now that there simply isn’t time for that level of care and support and that’s a huge loss in my opinion. As referred to in Lyn’s post, I think we do try to analyse everything today. Is that a good thing? I don’t know.

I’m Shropshire born and bred so, like YL, was brought up in a rural county. What you had in London sounds like something fairly unique. I’ve read novels where the setting, usually based in cities, has been very similar to that which you describe. It’s a sad fact but I think people are too afraid to get involved now. Do we care less or are we too afraid to care more?

I’ve recently had an issue with a very dear friend, or at least I thought she was. It turns out that we have very different definitions of loyalty. We have different values. Maybe I care too much therefore I expect too much. I think that when our expectations are too high (and maybe mine are) then we’re likely to experience some disappointment.

I have another friend who is one of the most caring people I know. She leads a simple, frugal life. She is not influenced by material things or technology so maybe that’s the answer.

Amelies Gran I really enjoyed your post, thankyou. It’s a bit like an Enid Blyton scene for grown ups. I remember well neighbours drawing their curtains after a loss in the road as a mark of respect and often a collection for a wreath would take place house to house. I remember some of the things you say and I’m in my 50’s. It’s sad in a way that today we are such an insular bunch of humans. There are times when I love the web and times when I rue the day I ever bought a piece of technology! It’s a bit like living two lives and experiencing none. You are spot on with your post and I think I’ll close now before my “Grumpy Old Woman” well and truly makes s bid for freedom!

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