“The boundary of the young child’s world is marked by his horizon. To him (or her), nothing exists beyond the place where earth and sky meet. For the more fortunate child this horizon soon is pushed outward through his experience and through that of those about him. For the great majority of children, however, the widening of the horizon largely depends upon books and the classroom.” Katheryne Whittemore, “Asia, The Great Continent” (1937)
I have been a historical and futuristic person basically my whole life. This to a large degree explains why I am so often misunderstood. I simply have a different reference point. Other things would factor into the equation such as not being rich and famous, not being a charasmatic speaker (I prefer to write and work behind the scenes) and I don’t exactly look like a movie star either.
My grandparents are of “The Greatest Generation”. So being one who came along in the mid 1970′s, I was exposed to Black Sheep Squadron, The Waltons, Charlie’s Angels, Star Wars and all those science fiction shows, DOH, etc… I knew who George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Al Capone and “Pappy” Boyington were by the age of 5.
The 1980′s and 1990′s were a wonderful time both personally and to a large extent the U.S.A. itself. I reminisce about those days quite often especially in the past few years. Since the turn of this century, I find myself having first-hand exposure to six generations and also connect to what The Lost Generation went through too. I have just this year seen a copy of my great-grandfather’s WWI draft card, several census records, and a picture of both him, his wife, my grandfather when he was a child, and many other relatives that I had not seen before. This is due to two things: having the internet and being able to share online and having a family reunion soon. This will be the first reunion in about 25 years.
So my perspective is this: In my adult life, I relate to and communicate most effectively with the Greatest Generation. They know who George Washington was. I am deeply in love with their movies, the clothes, cars, etc… They have the most patience and conversations can last for several hours and run the gamut of topics. I have often felt both in childhood and especially since the economic downturn that began in 2001 that I should have been born around 100 years ago. Perhaps it is a reaction to those high aspirations and big dreams that I had for myself not panning out like I had hoped. To go from wanting to work in the movies (primarily as a cinematographer and maybe later on producer) to simply things not working out (odd jobs, trying career changes, only to realize that wasn’t me) and so on and so on.
When it comes to the Baby Boomers, their achievements during an unparelled time of economic prosperity are certainly noteworthy. I like their movies (although nothing tops 1920′s-40′s in my mind), TV shows, music, etc… They had fun from the 60′s-90′s. In more recent years however, this fairly obstacle free life has led to a mass delusion of granduer. They expect Social Security and Medicare to be there just like their parents, but they have no experience with a Great Depression or World War. They have gone from fighting the system to joining it. They have lived in the suburbs their whole lives, so the notion of growing your own food and riding a horse is foreign. They kind of know who George Washington was and that he did something like fighting the British, but who cares! They are a bit spoiled by it all. A college degree was a guarantee of riches and a long career. That approach made sense from 1950-2000. It is not a guarantee today. This vastly different result certainly will create tension when they wonder why it did wonders for them, but it doesn’t yield even better results for their children and grandchildren. The American Dream was their overriding ambition and largely obtainable. Guess what? Times change!
Generation X and Y have big ambitions and tech-saavy. Yet even with a age gap of around 15 years, there are some very subtle yet critical differences. A child of the 70′s-80′s didn’t go around with an iPhone in their hand by age 5. The only people who would have been using an Acoustic Coupler and TDD were people who were deaf/hearing impaired or blind. People thought that was a bit odd back then. Now they think I’m odd because my cell phone is basic and while I would thrive professionally in an technology oriented environment (if only all those resumes and a few interviews would amount to something), I personally wouldn’t mind having a few acres of open land, a barn and a few animals. The kids ran around the neighborhood, went to the arcade and movies, enjoyed primetime TV, etc… We also have memories of the Cold War, Berlin Wall, and conflicts in the Middle East. We know that George Washington was around sometime in the 1700′s and that he fought the British. But not much else.
Those born around 1990 have basically spent their most formative years growing up with the internet, cell phones, and the United States during its last (to date) period of economic prosperity. So when will the economy get better? I don’t have a crystal ball, but my study of history leads to me to believe it may not occur until 2020 or so and that is only with radical changes in our basic government structure and some changes in how we live our daily lives. But that is hard to do with several generations who have little or no experience with farming, horses, trains and a USA without a massive government structure and the mass hypnosis that has occurred over the past few decades. They have heard the name George Washington, but don’t know anything about him.
Generation Z are tech savvy by the age of 5 and can even teach their great-grandparents how to do three way video conferencing on a Samsung Galaxy 4. One of my great-grandmothers didn’t even have a washer until she was around 50. They are bright, but perhaps spend way too much time wired up. Believe me, it won’t kill you to get your hair wet or your hands muddy once every month or so. They do everything super fast just because it is the times we live in and they have the attention span of a hornet’s nest. They have probably never even seen a hornet’s nest. I on the other hand have plenty of experience with poison ivy, snakes and even took a nap on the back of a cow once. Mention George Washington and you might as well be from Mars. They will have to deal with some harsh realities in the coming years like Gen X and Y are realizing.
Now stay tuned for the rest of the story. One thing is for sure: We are living in interesting times.
“Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I will spare you, the fine reader a book on what we expect, either from ourselves or others.
So I will confine the topic to sports since that is something just about everyone can relate to. Therefore, the concept and principles I’m about to address can be utilized in just about every area of life.
I am basically a blue collar person. I don’t claim to have any extra gift or talent. I get by on old fashioned ways.
I am better suited for an earlier time.
So now living in a culture where it is good looks, having the right genes or whatever that enables people to get a leg up on the competition, I and many people like me are at a certain disadvantage. I suppose that if I had devoted 10,000 hours of batting practice and a few more hours of fielding practice since the age of six, that I would have played second base (I’m 5’9″, about 160 pounds and I’m not going to get any bigger), perhaps I would have been good enough to play in high school. My size negates any chance of making the basketball or football team despite my passion. Perhaps coaching is a way to go. I’ve learned a good deal about the profession while serving as a video coordinator for a small college football team.
A number of football coaches have been fired, hired, moved onto other teams, etc… It is March Madness. Baseball season is about to start and it goes without saying. Unfortunately, in the midst of all this, things like slam dunks, 40 yard dashes and gimmicky pitching rituals take on a life of their own. Never mind that these things don’t directly address the fundamental skill sets that are part of the game. It reminds me of crystal balls and pixie dust. Not much has changed in the past 3,000 years or so.
What is bothersome to me is that the younger ones pick up on this and think this is the key to success. Success itself is defined by certain parameters like your bank account, how many homeruns you hit, how beautiful you are. Owners and managers (regardless of the business) already expect you to achieve a life-time worth of results by the age of 25. Yet it is like pulling teeth to get them to hire people who are either too young, too old, making a career change (so the resume isn’t all that sexy) and what not. It never ends. Even the great Ruth and Manning will get criticized for something. So if the kings and queens can’t please everyone, how can any of us who are average do it?
In a way, I’m just ranting. But I am intending to address a larger, more important issue at work in our world.
During the course of human existence and living organisms in general, the hierarchy tends to be established for better or worse. During World War II, the U.S. military commanders who get the most credit are Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur. Granted, everyone played their role in pursuit of the overall objective.
As I have studied the life and careers of Admiral William “Bull” Halsey and George S. Patton, I am now absolutely convinced that if we had not had those two, the war would have gone on longer than it should and perhaps even loss.
Halsey first visited Japan as part of the Great White Fleet. He generally had a deep distrust of the Japanese. But he understood their Samuari Warrior culture. Patton was a historian as well as futuristic. He understood the German military mindset and how it relates to the old Prussian model of order and industrial efficiency. The average German soldier is well-trained, dedicated and will go wherever you tell him or her, but has to be told what to do.
That being said, I prefer these kind of relationships. But given the stuff that went on (including propaganda on all sides that sought to dehumanize), it wasn’t feasible.
1775 August 25. (to John Randolph). “I am sincerely one of those [who still wish for reunion with their parent country], and would rather be in dependance on Great Britain, properly limited, than on any nation upon earth, or than on no nation. But I am one of those too who rather than submit to the right of legislating for us assumed by the British parliament…would lend my hand to sink the whole island in the ocean.”
This is a response to Denae’s question about the 2nd Amendment: The 2nd Amendment was drawn up specifically to deal with the issue of tyranny. You don’t fight a war of independence because the King says we can’t hunt quail anymore. Personally, I lean towards being a vegetarian. But that is another story. Why was there an American Revolution?
In order for a state to be free, the lessons that they learned as that the people being informed and armed was necessary. Whether a gun holds 1 round or 20 is simply a matter of style. No different than if a journalist today reporting on the internet. Reporters can be a valuable resource for an open and free government/society. But as we know, newspapers, radio, TV, etc… can be used for the negative too. The average reporter probably doesn’t care all that much. Other reporters will have an agenda. Others are idealists. But if they don’t do as their editors tell them, they are out of a job. This is why critical thinking skills and in the matter of spiritual warfare, discernment is important.
Pull up a copy of the Declaration of Independence on the web (or a pocket Constitution from the Cato Institute would be nice). As you read through it, notice the list of abuses by the King? Jefferson is spelling out the rationale for why they are declaring their independence. BTW, those old guys would have loved the internet. Not every single thing. But they would support its existence wholeheartedly. Thomas Jefferson would never stop answering his email and James Madison would be constantly printing stuff off for his files.
“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.” James Madison, Constitutional Convention, Max Farrand’s Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1
As for me, I have a background in both newspapers and TV. I am totally cool with doing radio too mainly as a producer. I have a deep love for film. As a child, I shot my great-grandfather’s guns. I have relatives who are World War II vets. Guns are a tool, not a toy nor some voodoo stuff. Some people are careless and others swear they are possessed. I just know to keep the finger off the trigger until I’m ready to fire and don’t aim at something you don’t intend to hit.
Thirty years from now, when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks you, “What did you do in the great World War II,” you won’t have to say, “Well… I shoveled shit in Louisiana.”
Okay I admit it: I’m old fashioned in a way. This is largely rooted in the fact I grew up on those 70′s TV shows and listened to my grandfather telling about his experiences during the Great Depression and World War II. I try to get up to speed on modern pop culture and it just does not jive. I would rather read Shakespeare over worrying about every little detail about Kayne West’s pregnancy. My God, how times have changed. Even on seemingly trivial matters, I differ. I prefer burlesque, brunch and my grandmother’s cooking over more modern preferences. Then again, I knew what gestation and the menstrual cycle was before I was even 3. If I had been a doctor, I would have been an OB/GYN. At a time when most boys are interested in cheerleaders, I did a paper on U.S. foreign policy. I thought the cheerleaders were pretty too. But “scoring one for the home team” wasn’t my primary occupation. Sometimes people will ask me “Why don’t you write a book?” In a culture where the average attention span is like 15 seconds? Yeah right!
I could have been a world class disc shooter, a history professor, movie maker, a baseball/football player (head and heart, but never enough size and talent), an astronaut, fluent in 5 or 6 languages, etc… So what the hell am I supposed to do?
I have dreamed of myself being a frontiersman, a cavalry officer, a pilot and quite a few other things. It is just that for being a 19th-20th century man, trying to mesh into the 21st century world is the great challenge of my life. Surely God just didn’t stick in this century just to wallow around trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do with my life. Isn’t that how our lives are? Especially for post World War II people, our lives are figured out for us by the time we come out of the womb. Imagine being born rich and famous.
Someone like George H.W. Bush would have been fine if he had strictly been an accountant or solely determined how many automobiles we should produce every month. But I wouldn’t want him making basic value judgments about the worth of a life. Not everything can be translated to a ledger. His son should have gone an entirely different way that didn’t involve high finance or politics. If that had been the case, history would have been different. Imagine if someone had the gumption to kill Hitler and Stalin 10 years earlier. They probably would have been tried and convicted of murder. But it could have prevented World War II. But who knows for sure.
In this century, I’m beginning to realize I should be something like a scout for a professional sports team. I’m not Peyton Manning and going the route of player to Graduate Assistant isn’t feasible either. Basically it will come down to coaching opportunities wherever I can find them and praying that one of the NFL teams that I have written to will give me an opportunity. Times have changed and hopefully the people who run the businesses realize it.
“For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph – a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown, and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.”
Sir, do you not see?
Don Quixote battles six merchants from Toledo and saves Dulcinea’s virtue!
Who the devil is Dulcinea?
All my life, I’ve taken an interest in certain things: the classics, movies, music and anything historical. In a major way, I’m a 19th-20th century man. In learning about the greats of the past, I’ve come to realize that I have some common traits with a number of people. The ones that connect to me most on a personal level whether in terms of my physical stature, mode of thinking, outlook on life would be James Madison, Stonewell Jackson, Annie Oakley, Nikola Tesla, George Patton and Pappy Boyington. There would be others, but in my current frame of mind, these hit home the most.
Because my mindset and the current times are not in sync, my physical existence therefore is not in sync with the times. So Kayne West is going to have a baby. This is big news today, yet I’m sitting here studying Patton and all the more thankful for it. I love movies from just about any decade. My musical tastes are all over the map: Mozart, 1920′s Jazz, MTV, etc… We live in a world where we are just to be interested in one thing. We can’t figure out why an attorney would ride a Harley Davidson or why a farmer would read Shakespeare. We can’t figure out why a good Christian girl would work at Hooters’ or why a guy works the graveyard shift.
30 years ago, I was ahead of everyone else in terms of technology. I knew what a modem was before the word was even in existence. I thought about technologies that would enable people to speak from distant locations, sending each other a written message via computer which would have made it easier in my case since I have hearing loss and doing school news via a linkup that goes out to the whole school as opposed to listening to it on the intercom all the time. Nowadays, I am glad the technology exists. But my major concern these days is it is technology for the sake of technology. The Frankenstein effect.
My childhood consisted of fighting the Soviets (in my mind), running all over the neighborhood, hanging out in arcades, my aunt’s barn in Tennessee, my aunt’s bar in Florida, etc… I would prefer that any time over these modern times that kids are living in. But because they have come into a world that didn’t exactly have my experiences, they can’t relate. Long-term, this can have serious consequences. I have already decided that if I have children of my own, they will not be getting a cell phone at age 3.
Reflecting back on it, given that my grandparents are of the Great Depression/World War II generation, I can kind of see why my grandmother would have been concerned about men having long hair and listening to rock n’ roll. To go from John Wayne to Jon Bon Jovi was a trend towards the decline of Western Civilization. :) I personally have concerns about the constant rush and over-reliance on technology. What are you going to do when you can’t just go to the grocery store and buy a loaf of bread for $50? It happened before. See my point. I study history for a reason. It is so we can relate and interconnect and perhaps learn from each other no matter the time period.
And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2
My first visual memory of George W. Bush was when I watched the 1988 Republican National Convention. I was a huge baseball fan at the time (still am, just don’t follow MLB like I once did). My impression of him was he was out of his element. He didn’t belong in this environment.
Many things have been said about Bush, positive and negative. My basic impression of him was that he was never truly his own man.
He faced the dilemma that many children of the rich and famous have to deal with. Imagine being a George Patton. His own career in its own right was distinguished. But he was never going to be as well-known as the father. His youngest grandson took an entirely different path.
George was married to Laura Welch, a school teacher and librarian. It seems he was interested in being a Cowboy. He never was going to be a 4.0 student, but he was involved in one way or another with different pursuits. Back when he was a teenager, he should have told his dad, “I want to go my own way.” Maybe he could have been a curator. A teacher. Who knows.
Children who come into a world of high expectations face pressures that their parents and grandparents didn’t have to deal with. We are living in those times now. Parents, yes raise your children. But don’t be overbearing. Children should be allowed to go with their heart’s desire and not solely use salary and 401K as the basis for a career or life’s pursuits.