I might be closer to 50 now than 25, but I’m not at the point of considering myself over the hill.
Yet some of the events of recent days have seen me muttering about the youth of today and wondering if it’s time they were taught a few lessons in the art of respect.
Take the news that one of Buckhaven’s wee libraries was burned to the ground by vandals.
This was a simple, community-led venture that allowed local people, mostly kids, to borrow books on trust, and was helping local families to enjoy and encourage reading.
Little more than five weeks after it was installed the little box has been reduced to a charred shell and locals have been left shaking their head in despair.
And it’s not in Buckhaven that community spirit is being tested. This week we also had to report on youths chucking objects from a flyover on the A92 near Cardenden, putting drivers’ lives in danger..
Children learn about respect from an early age – be kind and polite, look out for other people, don’t take what doesn’t belong to you. As we get older, the hope is that this will morph into a deeper, more sophisticated recognition of the feelings and needs of others.
But one local I spoke to in the aftermath of the wee library’s demise was more defeatist, telling me: “It wasn’t a question of if, it was a question of when….I don’t know why people bother doing good things for others.”
Thankfully people do still bother and communities across Fife are still working hard to improve life for the people living there but it’s worrying to imagine what the future might hold if the young folk have so little respect for what’s being done on their behalf.
Many will see the move away from physical punishment in schools and the ban on smacking as steps in the right direction. I’m in that camp, despite my anger over what happened last week.
But there will be those who say the lack of discipline in society has a direct correlation to the lack of respect being shown by its young people and, without coming across as an old fogey, it’s sometimes not so suprising that they want to have that debate.