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Old and young, can they teach each other (4)? Старики и молодежь, могут ли учить друг друга?

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An English proverb goes, "You can not teach an old dog new tricks." With all due respect to this folk wisdom, I have to admit that it sounds somewhat dated to me. At the same time I agree that almost every saying has a grain of truth to it, and this one is no exception. Nor is another one? There is no fool like an old fool. As it can easily be seen, the two sayings contradict each other, which may seem terribly confusing. Nevertheless I would like to pursue the subject at some length and try to find out which one is in the right.

It goes without saying that the old dog has quite a lot of experience. During its lifetime it has learnt a lot of different tricks that now make it feel happy and content with itself. I believe it deserves all kind of respect and admiration, since it has done a pretty good job. But one should always remember that the kind of tricks it has been doing up to now are old-fashioned and not up-to-date anymore. There now exists a marvelous opportunity to do all of them over again in a better, more sophisticated way. It is not surprising that a young dog would be way more dexterous in performing those tricks.

Moreover, it can create some innovative, brand-new ways that an old dog has never even dreamed about. Therefore I suppose that the old dog should appreciate this never-ending source of energy and ideas, and maybe even pick up some of them. If the old dogs do not want to be considered off-the-shelf, they should rather be flexible and get with the times. "You are never too old to learn" shrewdly reminds them another popular saying. But still there is no way for the mature dogs to humbly imitate their own puppies. It is advisable for them to share the accumulated knowledge with the young, to be more helpful and willing to co-operate.

At the same time, all of this will be accepted more easily if the old dogs do not try to impose their experience on the young. Then the latter would undoubtedly greet their teachings with their arms wide open. Both the old and the young should never forget that they are living in the same world that belongs equally to the first group as to the second. Even though the modern world is changing all the time, there still are ways to get adjusted to it for both.

All metaphors aside, I guess that the young and the old must be very loyal to each other. They should exchange their experience and whatever else they have to give to each other. To get back to where I started? Nor the first nor the second saying is totally correct. As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

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