Old School

The phrase “old school” has been used an awful lot lately-often times inaccurately. Like most popular phrases, people rarely live up to the original definition and instead co-op the phrase to to cover a myriad of sins.

If you read nothing else then read this; refusing to change does not make you old school. When I think of the proper definition of “old school,” the definition would be about morals, responsibility and strength of character. It is not to be used as an excuse not to take on a task. Calling yourself old school because your don’t what to progress as a human being is a mixture of fear and laziness-emotions that are not embodied in the proper use of the phrase and are the exact opposite to strength of character.

There are techniques, technologies and processes that are old school. To define manufacturing processes from a century or more ago as old school would be proper but to define yourself as having higher moral character or internal strength because you will only use such a older technologies is like saying you are a better communicator because you use smoke signals instead of a telephone. There’s is nothing wrong with these older processes unless we expect the whole world to adhere to our use of them as our only way to interact with the rest of the world. Even worse is to then expect to be praised for being stubborn and mistakenly bestowed with a moniker such as old school. I am a writer so I love pen and paper, however I am expected to use a computer at work so I use a computer.

So what is old school? Listen to John Conlee’s country hit, “Old School.” Conlee speaks of the human characteristics that are truly old and valued; fidelity to your spouse, work ethic, responsibility and honesty. What I miss are those who welcome responsibility and see it as a way to define themselves. As I get older, I try more things. I understand the silence of older people I knew as a child. They were thinking, they were under pressure and they were finding solutions to problems. They were growing as human beings and breaking trail for those who would try this same path in later generations. These are old school actions that truly define the nature of someone who comes from more honorable times. I think of the people who did the work to bring the United States to the moon. They had an old school work ethic that was used to accomplish a very modern task.

Think you are old school because you cross your arms, stick out your lower lip and refuse to change?You’re not. Old school is used to describe old manufacturing processes or good characteristics of humanity such as work ethic and accepting responsibility. You are a human-you are not a process; this means you will have to get off the bench, lift up your chin and jump in with the rest of us and get something done. To act otherwise could be described as many things but old school is not one of them.

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