When my son was about 8 years old, I opened a drawer inside his desk to borrow a pencil. There, right before my eyes, glued to the bottom of the drawer, was a hand written note that read “Dragons Are Dying, Save Them.”

What could that cryptic message have meant? Because he was reluctant to discuss its meaning, I never did find out his reason, but over the years it stayed with me and I realized that dying dragons might mean different things to different people. To me, they seem to be a metaphor for a way of life I remember, but is slowly eroding. My dying dragons are courtesy, empathy, thoughtfulness, respect for others, and, in essence, man’s humanity to man.

Dragons are dying every day. Sometimes we can save them, and sometimes they just fade away, leaving in their wake the memory of how things used to be. We are living in a shrinking world where dependence on technology has replaced my interpretation of human interaction. Instead of writing letters, we send emails; instead of physically touching, we Snapchat.

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Kirk Douglas, the 100-year-old seasoned citizen and lauded actor, has just published a book along with his wife of 63 years. It’s the story of their life together seen through their hand-written love letters. Mr. Douglas agrees that writing letters is definitely a dying dragon and a very sad commentary on today’s world.

Moving forward is good. Finding new ways to do things better and faster is fine, but not when it means giving up some of the niceties of life. Too many people have adopted cavalier attitudes, dismissing the needs and cares of others for instant gratification. Living for the moment has replaced investing in the most important dragon of all, the art of respect for your fellow human beings.

Political correctness and micro-aggressions have a way of being totally incorrect and misleading. We appear to lean over so far in a feigned effort not to hurt someone and instead become smug and condescending. All we need to remember is this: Your freedom to swing your arm stops where my nose begins! That way we do no harm while still respecting and protecting the freedom to think and act freely and unashamed.

What we call “new” is generally an outgrowth of the old. Evolution is longer lasting than revolution and the seeds of tomorrow are planted today in the soil of yesterday.

Adrienne can be reached at AKL.seasonedcitizen@gmail.com.