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YOUTH & OLD AGE

Dialogue:______read aloud in pairs

A: Do you think that the young have anything to learn from the elderly and vice

versa?

 

B: Well, older people are said to have more experience than younger ones.

 

A: I've heard that argument time and time again, but nobody ever says what experience!

 

B: I'd've thought that was obvious. They've lived through personal and family

relationships. In many cases, they've bought and sold houses. They've witnessed

ups and downs in their careers. They're often experts on matters of health ranging

from minor ailments to major operations. Some of them have been round the world.

 

A: But do these achievements really relate to the problems of young people today?

 

B: They have to, somewhere along the line. What I'm saying is that older

people have been there before. They've had the problems and found the solutions.

 

A: I'm not sure that it works like that. You see, today's young live in a different

age. For a start, they don't go looking for information on the shelves of their local

reference library. If they need any kind of advice, they'll find it on the Internet. I don't

suppose their grandparents will know how to use Search Engines.

 

B: It seems that you're confusing quantity of information with quality of

information. Nobody knows you better than someone in your own family. You don't

need a global instrument to solve a local problem.

 

A: Let's look at the other side of the coin. What can the young teach the elderly?

 

B: If the elderly are receptive, they could share some of the benefits of

information technology. An E-mail message or a fax could save someone with

mobility problems a lot of time and effort. Telephone banking could spare them

having to queue in one of the few remaining branches of their bank. The elderly are

often confused by modern telephones and automatic switchboards.

 

A: I wonder whether that's the case. Isn't it rather that they enjoy getting out

and about instead of sitting next to a telephone? Don't you think they're right to be

suspicious of technology which is turning us all into screen-gazers and zombies. The

young are so hooked on these electronic toys, that they can't really see where they're

going. The elderly don't need all this virtual reality. They are content to listen to the

trees rustling in the wind, to smell the summer grass and to watch the setting sun.