Over the years, I’ve found that what counts is not what happens next, but what happens after that.
For example, I remember leaving a place in London, for a “better opportunity” in Toronto – only to end up back in London with an even better job. So, if I hadn’t gone to Toronto in the first place, I wouldn’t have found out about the next career situation back in London.
Another time, my wife and I were devastated when we lost out on buying a farmhouse outside London. But, a few months later, I got a promotion/transfer to Kitchener; and after that, we were able to buy the perfect hobby farm for our excited family. Again, if we’d bought that original farm setup, we’d only have had to sell it anyway… leaving us heartbroken.
With experience comes perspective.But, what do we do with all that knowledge we’ve stored up? It’s no good after we die; why not pass it on? You’ve heard of Generation X, Y, and… is it Z now? Well, for the sake of simplicity, let’s call them Generation ‘Next’. We can find many ways to help them, and in the process make ourselves more useful… to share our love.
“Son, I’ve made a life
Out of readin’ people’s faces…
So if you don’t mind me sayin’
I can see you’re out of aces…
I’ll give you some advice” – The Gambler by Kenny Rogers
However, I still remember my dad saying that you can talk to some people ‘til you’re blue in the face, but most have to learn from the ‘school of hard knocks.’ (Put your hand up if that sounds familiar?) Hey, I haven’t earned these lines on my face for nothing.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Mother Teresa, when asked about trying to help our world when there’s so much need said, “I do not agree with the big way of doing things. To us what matters is an individual… to love the person… to come in contact with him.”
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We older ones may know a lot, but we don’t know everything. In fact, it’s a wise person who remembers that difference. Today’s high-tech generation ‘Nexters’ have a lot to offer. Nevertheless, we need to listen and care – just like others did for us – in order for them to reach their full potential.
In the latest Stars Wars movie, a young hero of the next generation offers to ‘pass the torch’ – the new challenge – back to an older Star Wars heroe, hoping for guidance. Will he return, and fully “engage” again, offers what he knows to the young people who are coming next? Or, we he continue to withdraw from life?
Engaging has its risks. My father cautioned me about one of the ironies of life – if you give advice that works out, you’ll never get credit; however, if you give advice that doesn’t work out, you’ll certainly be criticized. But, standing on the sidelines condemning and complaining won’t make our world any better. As Gandhi said, “Be the change.”
So, depending how you perceive it, ‘May the force be with you!’