Opinion

Old buildings and old values

The face of our community changes daily. Like plastic surgeons attempting to restore youth to aging faces, development and progress tear down the old and peeling structures and replace them with modern new age construction.

It seems every week we see another familiar landmark crushed by the machines and hauled away by the trucks. Recently two old buildings on Fraser Highway in the City came down.

Another landmark that recently disappeared was the restaurant at the top of the hill west of Langley at 192nd. In recent years it was known as La Masia, formerly Thor’s Steak and Seafood House, but it began its life many years ago as Foster’s Fine Foods.

Today the site is an empty lot surrounded by a construction fence but at one time it was a fine dining facility where you made reservations for anniversaries or birthdays.

The traditions carried on as the name changed and many other fine dining venues open up. But at one time it sat alone at the top of the hill with a great view of Mt. Baker.

Foster’s was also where my older sister got her first job back in the ’50s. This is where this column changes gears. She still speaks about how the owners stressed the value of customer service and impressed on the staff the need to show up on time and work hard.

We lived at what is now the corner of #10 and Glover and my 17-year-old sister walked to work. She walked along Mufford Crescent as far as it went then across the field to what is now 64th and up to 192nd and Fraser Highway. Today a 17- year-old girl would phone Child Services if she was asked to do that.

In an article titled The Forgotten Work Ethic by Kevin Denee, he states, “Working hard is not something that comes naturally. Today’s parenting has led to a generation of children who were never taught to work hard. Parents have neglected their responsibility to teach their children to work hard and the benefits of doing so.”

He goes on to say that teen entertainment almost always includes an unhealthy dose of movies, television, videogames, etc. The extent of this form of entertainment could be described as nothing short of pure laziness. Rather than get a job or play sports, many spend ridiculous amounts of time sitting in front of some sort of screen.

I recently spoke to a regional manager of a restaurant chain who agrees. As it becomes more and more difficult to get employees, they name their own shifts, come and go on a whim, phone in sick or refuse to do tasks they think are beneath them. Getting fired means nothing and often the parents will intervene on the children’s behalf making excuses or pleading for a second chance.

As we make life faster and shinier what are we sacrificing? Are seeing less silverware and more drive throughs? Are we seeing less work ethic and more apathy?

It seems as the old buildings come down the old values are going into the dumpster with the debris.  I’m not sure losing either is progress. At least that’s what McGregor says.

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