I read a quotation from Steven Charleston saying we’re living in “the time of the great turning.” He said we’re in a “hinge-generation,” a historical period of deep change.
Initially I agreed. But then I realized that could be said for many periods in a single lifetime — my own. I was born during the Great Depression, a young child during World War II, and a young mother in 1968 when the U.S. almost destroyed itself over Viet Nam. Women’s liberation, the Civil Rights struggle… all could rightfully be called “times of turning.”
Our lives in the past two years have been dominated by world-wide pandemics and climate change, not to mention fraught international armed struggles and our home-grown threats to democracy. These have brought enormous changes in our corporate life – most unforeseen ten years ago.
I wonder, has there ever been a generation that did not live in a period of deep change?
We can’t always predict the future. So the question is, how do we order our lives to create positive change for our children, knowing that they will have to contend with crises of their own?
There may be a better answer. But the best I can do is to live each day mindful that the small steps I take today can have a profound effect on the future. Tiny things, like masking up to save a life or stop the spread. Telling the truth even when it hurts or embarrasses me. Using glass instead of plastic. Recycling. Careful use of water. Giving away what I don’t need, including extra money. Voting as if it mattered.
My late husband Jerry wore a t-shirt that read: “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless mercy.” In such a time as this, that may be the best we can do.
If enough of us do it, we might save the planet. It can’t hurt, and it might really make a difference.
ERNEST D GRANT says
Initially, I thought it was uncanny the way your words mirrored my thoughts. Then it occurred to me that the evidence is so overwhelming, almost everyone should be thinking similar thoughts. I heard a respected historian say that the American Democracy is in serious peril. Only the period leading up to the Civil War is comparable. “Gee, are you kidding me?” It seems that our Representatives on Capitol are either actively participating in the undermining of democracy or passively standing by watching its destruction.
Climate change is a subject I rarely thought about until recently. The devastating effects of climate change are undeniable. I am a conscientious recycler. However, i am sure there is more that I could be doing.
I agree that all generations have live through periods of change. Has there ever been a time when negative change so far outweighed positive change. In prior periods, change seemed designed to effect positive change. Changes were made to improve the overall human condition of Americans. That’s certainly not the case now. “Keep the women barefoot and pregnant” seems to be one of the current battle cries.
The one issue that really, really concerns me is the proliferation of guns-not just AR-15’s, but all guns. There are too many examples. Of course, there are the massive school shootings and other horrific examples. However, there is a recent example of a shooting that shook me to my core. At the end of a youth football game played by 9 year old kids, the coach of the losing team argued with and the shot to death the coach of the winning team. My question
is why would the coach of a youth football team carry a gun to the game? There is no good answer and that concerns me greatly.
Carol Holt says
One thing I’ve learned is the importance of critical thinking and resourcefulness. Developing problem solving skills along with kindness and compassion is the antidote for gaslighting and learned helplessness. Learning to live with the questions instead of expecting the one “right answer” that limits infinite possibility is a component of critical thinking that requires courage. The minute we say “ I can’t” or “Thats not possible” we have created a self fulfilling prophesy. Anything that has ever been created has begun with a thought, an idea followed by action to make it happen. Soon the idea moved to action takes on a life of its own and there is the temptation to try and control its evolution. Sometimes the hardest thing is letting go as others share the vision and have their own ideas to add to the mix. Cooperation and collaboration are more important than our ego’s need to control and be in charge of everything. The end result just may be better than anything we could have imagined. If we commit to the long view we end up much happier and a lot less stressed. It may take generations to build something as it evolves over time so its never just up to us. We have our one life time to make our contribution and then its up to our children to carry it forward, and negotiate the bumps in the road.
GLENN DOW says
WHAT A TIME! WHAT CHALLENGES! WHAT DISAGREEMENTS IN THIS COUNTRY & ACROSS THE WORLD….IS THERE NO END TO IT? CONSENQUENCES THAT MAY CHANGE OUR LIVES IN A MORE POSITIVE WAY? OR ARE WE DOOMED TO WEEP FOR OUR CHILDREN & OUR GRANDCHILDREN AS WE PRCEED DOWN AN UNFORGIVING PATH IN OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, PATICULARLY IN THE DEBT WE ARE ACCRUING?
ALL WE CAN DO IS PRAY FOR WISER HOPES & THE HEADS THAT WILL HAVE TO CONTAIN THAT HOPE. AND PREPARE OURSELVES, NO MATTER OUR POLITICS, FOR WHATEVER THE FUTURE HOLDS & PRAY TO GOD FOR WISDOM TO DO IT.