Captain Dunsel pt. 2
Also, on a broader note, I realize this story has 2 sides. I'm not suggesting there isn't a place for young people in positions of leadership, quite the contrary. One of the things that used to grind my gears when I was younger was the constant "you're too young" or "you have to pay your dues" or "wait until you learn" that I seemed to hear from the ones in charge. Well, if you're never given the chance to do something how are you supposed to learn? Like the old paradox: you can't get the job until you have the experience and you can't get the experience without doing the job.
I promised that when I got to 'their' age I would remember what it had been like and if I ever could give the ones coming up a chance to stretch their wings I would, and I have...just ask my kids. I am pleased to see in so many areas that young people don't have to apologize for their youth anymore...I'm glad that my church is putting so many of them in positions of leadership and teaching. I just think a church needs to be careful to have things that can speak to and help everyone, not just a few. If you want to have a young guys group, fine. Have one for the middle age kids too and the middle age over-the-hill's, the blue collar, the white collar, whatever. Don't say the one group is for everyone then focus it at one demographic and ignore the others when they try to participate. Our church has a really bad habit of doing this.
Another thing that got me when I was younger was how some from my parents generation seemed to be intent on never learning any new tricks. Knot made an excellent point in his comment: "Older generations actually take some form of pride in not understanding technology...you can't afford that." People from just about my age/generation on up have this really bad habit of copping an arrogant "I don't need no stinkin' technology" tone. To my fellow half-centurions:
- Yes, you do need technology. Maybe you don't need all of it...for example many people from every age group get along fine with no cell phone (Jeremy is in his mid-30's and hates them and doesn't want one) but with the world's reliance on instant access to information you at least need to understand why technology is so important to our world and understand how people communicate today. If you work in an organization that relies on email/I.M. for communication and Internet access for some or (like my company) all of your work related applications you WILL BE LEFT BEHIND if you don't get up to speed.
- Please can the "why-you-smart-allec-little-whipper-snapper" attitude. You make the rest of us look bad. Sheesh. They are adults. Treat them that way.
I do think tremendous progress has been made in the last 30 years or so in the areas of open mindedness: although there is still plenty of progress to be made bigotry, racism, sexism are no longer tolerated by most; the very young can take a good idea and achieve fantastic wealth (Bill G. and Steve J.); AND 40 is no longer 'old'. I remember when my mom and dad and all my friends parents hit 40 they were old. When thy hit 50 they were truly senior citizens...not just physically but mentally. And I'm talking their attitude. They thought of themselves as old. That's just not true like it used to be. Now you see athletes performing at a top level well into their 40's and people in their 50's, 60's & 70's doing things that people that age 40 or 50 years ago never would or could do.
Let you in on a little secret: last birthday I hit the half-century milestone. 5 weeks from Saturday I'll be 51. My youngest daughter tells me I'm 51 going on 22. All my children tell me that the thing they loved most growing up, especially when they were in high school, was that they had the coolest house...the one all their friends wanted to go to. We were bigger kids than they were (mind you we were still the parents and in charge). We are still the ones dragging them through the line to ride the giant coaster or to go down the biggest water slide. My beautiful wife doesn't know it yet but I have a special treat planned for my 70th: Sky diving. Some may say I'm having a mid-life crisis. I say "how can you have a mid-life crisis when you've never grown up to begin with?". Heck, one of my favorite things to do still is go to Wal-Mart and get elbow deep in the Hot Wheels bin with all the other kids...I have the biggest collection on my block!
I can truthfully say that I feel younger today than I did on May 27th 1997 when I was 39 years old. That was the day I was set free. Since that time I have learned what's really important in life. It wasn't what I thought it was the first 39 years.
Bottom line: I refuse to get old. Though the body ages my attitude towards getting old is "Homey don't play that."
Labels: From The Heart