I read an interesting article the other day. It said that the young minds of today in my homeland do not chew gum as much as their previous generations. Some sources say sales has dropped as much as 40% in this past decade.
The biggest reason suggested by the manufacturers is that chewing gum used to be the go-to item when feeling bored, but the young minds of today rarely get bored texting and tweeting and playing games on their smart-phones, so they do not need to chew gum. To combat this situation, the manufacturers are now selling tie-up products with smart-phone apps to draw their attention.
Hmm, interesting approach. But that is not what interested me about this article. I was surprised to read that some of the other reasons for not chewing gum were because they are too hard to bite in and too bothersome to keep chewing… our young minds are losing biting power and the will to chew!
It got me scared. Could it be that our animal instinct to survive is slowly fading? Yeah, maybe – we have no predators preying on us in our modern civilization (other than ourselves, perhaps), so we do not have to bite hard and chew on things if we do not feel like it. But as I started to put my thoughts into words, I realized something even scarier.
Maybe we are also letting go of the ability to “bite down” when things get rough.
Maybe we are also weakening in our capacity to “chew over” matters in length and depth.
Is it a coincidence that there are so many idioms with the words “bite” and “chew” to describe our mental strength? I can tell you that it is not just in English, we have many phrases in my mother tongue with similar connotations, and I am sure you can find some in your languages as well. So I cannot help but think that there is a bigger implication to our young minds losing interest in biting and chewing than a simple decrease in consumption of chewing gums.
Manufacturers are producing softer chewing gums and gums with added values such as “flavours to lessen stress” and “chemicals to strengthen teeth” in response to the aforementioned complaints. I can see they are really biting down and chewing over to come up with a plan to recover loss in sales with creative approaches! But I am not sure if we should respond to all complaints by the young minds and provide easier ways out of biting and chewing.
Maybe it is not the job of the chewing gum manufacturers.
Maybe I am asking them to bite off more than they can chew.
But it would be nice to see a solution in which our young minds can be taught that life is worth taking a bite out of and chewing up – sometimes it gets hard and makes you want to spit it out, but its flavour keeps changing and gets increasingly nutritious if you can stick it out long enough.
Now, do you think anyone will bite on my thought?