Gransnet forums


bettering oneself

(238 Posts)
etheltbags1 Mon 05-Jan-15 22:14:57

am I being unreasonable or maybe old fashioned when I say I always want to 'better myself'.
I have brought up this subject on several different threads over the last year or so and it always seems to get some members backs up.

Did none of you find that you were brought up to respect your elders, respect and honour your parents and always be on your best behaviour.

I was brought up to do those things and never discuss money, politics or religion. I was taught to look up to those who had done well for themselves (worked hard and achieved a good status in the community) and to 'pick my friends' because being seen with certain people would not do me any favours etc etc.

I have tried to do these things and having married into a snobbish middle class family whom I hated, apart from my late DH, I sometimes questioned these values, however they rubbed off onto me and I have only recently felt I am equal to the other surviving members.

I find it hard to change now, although I don't judge people on money or jobs, I do find it hard to ignore bad behaviour and language.

In 1968 one of my teachers sorted told us that those of us who had parents who owned their own home, a fridge, car and tv were middle class and the rest of us were lower class. This guy was a labour councillor too. this inflamed my desire to better myself and although I have little in the way of money, I do consider myself to be equal to the middle classes of today. Any comments.

Iam64 Thu 15-Jan-15 18:39:55

Stansgran - that was such a good post, thank you.

Dad passed the 11 plus, parents couldn't afford the uniform, he went to work in a local mill, like all his pals. He went to night school until joining the marines (sorry dad, royal marines) at 19. He continued night school and joined the police in 1949 after I was born, in order to provide his wife and child with stability. He continued to study and retired at a high rank. His example was mirrored throughout the family. Mum had a place at art school, you guessed it, the mill. She did A level English and Art in her 40's, when middle daughter was doing A levels. Mum went to the local tech and I joined her, having left school at 15 due to 3 moves during high school. I later did various professional qualifications, finally qualifying properly at 29. My grandparents had left school at 11 or 12 and recognised education as a way out of the grind. We were all encouraged to do our best at school, "so you'll never go down'tpit, or into t'mill". We didn't I'm relieved to say [ smile]

Deedaa Wed 14-Jan-15 22:57:52

I think you've hit the nail on the head Stansgran it's not a case of bettering yourself, but of realising your full potential. So many people get knocked back and never get that far,

Stansgran Wed 14-Jan-15 21:03:58

My father left school(was made to by his widowed mother) at fourteen. My FIL was sent away from home to childless relatives as his own parents couldn't afford to bring him up. He worked his way through uni. Both men never stopped educating themselves and achieved status, money and most importantly education. It wasn't bettering themselves it was realising potential. I think it has passed on through the family and will I hope continue,this desire to realise potential though the GCs. I wish those two men who knew poverty could see the youtube clip I've just been sent of their great grand daughter giving a public address with grace and confidence. I keep thinking of " educating Rita "when I see the title of this thread.

Tegan Wed 14-Jan-15 14:10:29

I kept wondering how long they [Arthur and the young man, that is] could keep the conversation going before one of them realised the other wasn't the instructor.

Marelli Wed 14-Jan-15 08:03:30

That part in last night's episode, where the two of them were walking towards the plane was so funny! grin

Tegan Wed 14-Jan-15 00:44:31

Like Little Britain he started on the radio. I must see if I can find it somewhere.

Marelli Tue 13-Jan-15 22:18:33

I didn't know he was on the radio, rosesarered.

petra Tue 13-Jan-15 21:58:26

Thank you for pointing that out, FarNorth.
Nonu. You grew up pretty quick in in my parents house. :-)

rosesarered Tue 13-Jan-15 21:41:38

I love Count Arthur Strong....BUT only on the radio.

rosesarered Tue 13-Jan-15 21:40:34

This thread is generating a lot of interest.

Nonu Tue 13-Jan-15 21:28:50

Thanks FAR you are a STAR.


FarNorth Tue 13-Jan-15 20:49:23

Is this the one Nonu?

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11 (New International Version)

Petra tho said 'when she had very little' not 'was'.

Nonu Tue 13-Jan-15 20:46:28

OH crikey, I am trying to think here

"When I was a child , I spoke as a child
When I was a man, I spoke as a man

Don"t know if that is it but it sounds about right to little ole me !

Nonu Tue 13-Jan-15 20:40:40

Petra 14.56
I don"t see how that can be, when you were a child you thought differently.
I do hope someone will come up with the saying I am trying to put my finger.
IN hope . smile

rosequartz Tue 13-Jan-15 20:01:38

Very fishy! grin

Ana Tue 13-Jan-15 19:55:11

Or you could cover yourself with so much batter that no one would be able to recognise the real you.

rosequartz Tue 13-Jan-15 19:44:25

I was using the term 'bettering oneself' because that is what the OP is about, Gracesgran.

I take it to mean bettering one's situation through effort and hard work, whether or not one had help from parents which is what I am sure many on here have done if they are truthful.

However, being a better person comes from having a religious or moral code. I hope I have developed one and hope I am a better person as a result. I don't consider anyone is 'worse' because of what they have or have not got! And I do think some people are 'worse' because they have no regard for their fellow humans.
Better = more good and I hope I am more good than some I have heard of throughout my working life.

You could, of course, metaphorically batter oneself into being a better person.

NfkDumpling Tue 13-Jan-15 19:06:37

Oh, thank goodness Jingle I thought it was just me! I imagine fish and chip shop batter though - not flagellation!

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 13-Jan-15 18:58:54

I wish I could stop reading this thread title as battering oneself! hmm

Gracesgran Tue 13-Jan-15 18:55:16

What is ambition but a wish to better oneself?
I wonder if it is the word "better" rosequartz. It does seem to imply that some people are "worse" which is rather judgemental. I think it does conjure up the days of elocution lessons and "gals" learning which country puts the knife and fork where, at finishing school. I might feel more comfortable with "improve" as that seems to imply education and I am sure their are other words and phrases which would not relate to class rules but to achievement while being yourself.

Iam64 Tue 13-Jan-15 18:30:28

Good point petra. That seems to be the case for most posters here, we appreciate the efforts made by our parents and grandparents to help us live a life that was a bit easier than the ones they'd had. I expect we're all doing what we can to support the next generation whilst encouraging them to be grounded, and not snotty grin

petra Tue 13-Jan-15 14:56:37

I think the lines have become a bit blurred. There's a difference between bettering oneself and bettering your situation.
I know my view of people is still the same as when I had very little.

rosequartz Tue 13-Jan-15 14:27:55

What is ambition but a wish to better oneself?

As long as we don't turn into Hyacinths in the process.

FlicketyB Tue 13-Jan-15 14:25:16

I do not think that getting on in life in the past was half as difficult as we like to think. My paternal grandfather was born illegitimate, Northern Irish and catholic, grew up in poverty, enlisted in the army in 1900 to fight the Boers, and ended up a commissioned officer with an OBE and a papal knighthood. His illegitimacy people were not aware of, but being Irish and catholic as well as his impoverished background didn't hold him back. He never completely lost his Irish brogue

My maternal grandmother, also Irish, grew up in poverty in slums near London Bridge, she married an Englishman, that helped. After his death in WW1, she got her daughters in to grammar school and then into teaching and nursing and managed to move to a pleasant interwars semi in a leafy suburb of south London. She was elegant, cultured and beautiful, and I adored her.

Gracesgran Tue 13-Jan-15 10:34:55

I think those of you who have described how parents understood how important education is have hit the nail on the head.

Of course past generations tried the "better" themselves. In those days the class system held sway so people tried to understand the nuances of it to be able to "get on". Thankfully, although we are not there yet, there is so much more equality of opportunity and education is open to all who want to work at it. No more having to know whether it's napkin or serviette when you can use your education to "get on".

We are not there yet but thankfully we are a lot further forward than we were 50, 60 and certainly 70 years ago.