Thursday, September 25, 2008

Regards to Captain Dunsel

I was reading an article online the other day about how Microsoft has been changing to keep up with the market. If you are interested in business in general (especially a company that’s a huge part of our economy) or more specifically in what’s happening in the tech industry this is a very interesting article by Joe Wilcox of eWeek.

The author had one section where he talks about how Microsoft is perceived by it’s rivals:

“Part of Steve's [Ballmer] problem, and so Microsoft's, is one of ageism. Microsoft is a middle-aged company in an industry dominated by young upstarts. In another era, Americans respected older people. Now, particularly in the high-tech era, many young people view old people as being in the way. These attitudes extend to some companies, particularly those that are established and successful; they're perceived as being in the way of upstarts.”

He is right about American’s respect of older people changing (from my point of view older is about 15 years ahead of me). I remember growing up and having friends, mentors and idols that were older men, some much older. I felt more comfortable around older men in those days than I did with my own age group. I believed that they didn't get where they were by making foolish decisions. As I've gotten older one of the things I miss especially is working with older men. Most of them have either retired or are no longer with us and I feel the loss of their wisdom and experience. Having lost my dad when I was 21 these men were and are a very important part of my life.

I don’t think ageism is limited to the high-tech industry. I see it in other areas of our society. I have especially seen it in our church the last few years…the perception by some in their 20’s to early 30s that if someone is over ‘X’ age they are irrelevant, in the way and in general stupid (‘X’= @ 15 years older than the age they are). I know not all from this generation are this way—I have many friends in their 20’s and 30’s who are wonderful and whom I have great respect for…plus I don’t see this attitude in my own children—but there seems to be more than enough in this age group with this prejudice. It just pains me to watch kids in their 20’s either giving bad advice or struggling to find the right words to say while trying to mentor High School and Middle School students in our youth group because they don’t have any life experience while ‘kids’ in their 40’s and 50’s stand idly by and twiddle their thumbs, having been told their help is not needed or wanted.

It is also a puzzlement to me when I see a “Men’s Bible Study” or a “Discussion Group of Issues Affecting Men” being led by someone who hasn't finished college yet and the ‘Bible Study’ turns out to be no more than a book review of some author’s latest Bible commentary based on notes taken from the study leader’s latest college course on the subject.

Sorry, I don’t mean to sound like I’m prejudiced but I’d like a Men’s discussion group, not a Boy’s, with Men who have struggled with, dealt with and come to terms with the same things I have. Men who come together to work through what's on their heart and aren't thrown off their game if the discussion takes a turn down an earthy road or doesn't follow the 'lesson plan'. Come back to me in 15 or 20 years after you've struggled to put kids through school and scrambled to keep up with all their activities and watched over their lives with love and care…after you've poured your heart into a life with a spouse…after you've had your heart broken and broken a few yourself…after you've dealt with the joys and horrors of the business world and gone through a few ‘workforce/economic/market adjustments’…after you've fought to pay for everything from homes to cars to educations…after you've dealt with years of temptation ranging from worldly to material to carnal. I want to know how Men handle these things. What worked and what didn't? Where did these Men find their strength and inspiration? Oh, and by the way, I've got experiences of my own to share about what works and what doesn't. I figure that’s one of the main reasons God put us here anyway and one of the reasons we go through what we do: to help each other out; to share wisdom & lives and build relationships. One of the most important things is “…to feel useful in this old world, to hit a lick against what’s wrong or say a word for what’s right though you get walloped for saying that word…”

Like I said…I miss the wisdom and experience in my life of older Men. It’s gotten to the point now where everyone in my age group has amassed this large body of experience…just seems like it’s all going to waste right now.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see your point exactly. It's very much a generational struggle. I think that each generation is going to relate to each other better. I know I would be more accepting of a young man joining my discussion group than an older man. Not that I wouldn't think the older man is invalid or not worthy, but I think the life experience would be more similar to share experiences.

Oddly enough, I struggle with this at work and especially in technology. Older generations actually take some form of pride in not understanding technology and in an industry where the consumer gets younger and younger - education - you can't afford that. Therefore generational understanding is tantamount.

But I do agree we don't respect our aging population. If we did I think we would probably live in a different world.

I tell my wife all the time to never put me in an old folks home EVER!! I'll get a little plot of land by a hospital and a little house from Home Depot and live there. There's no dignity in nursing homes any more.


4:52 AM, September 26, 2008  
Blogger Beast1624 said...

Thanks for the comment. You have inspired a follow up post.

9:31 AM, September 26, 2008  

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