“Making a Difference”

4 Jan

It’s a New Year, and I’m back from my trip and back to blogging about my boys.

So many times when my boys were growing up, I found myself thrown back into my own childhood searching for a reference to what my boys were experiencing.

I imagine that we probably all have done that as parents. Occasionally, the process awakens an old understanding that gets updated to present time.

The other day I was talking with my older son Ian about his situation and flashed way back to the 60’s. Sometimes I remember very little and sometimes (like this time) I remember a bit too much.

I remember how I was flooded with a great, sincere intent to “make a difference”,  “change the world” and “be somebody who mattered”. Many of my ideas got washed downstream with the current of life, but some I held onto because I truly felt I could.

I’m not sure that is clear but in other words, I still believe I can do some of that. I bring this up because even though my boys lived in an environment that modeled those exact  inspirations, both of them feel that they in fact can not ‘realistically’ make a difference.

Both my sons are bright, college educated, and emotionally alive, but to them life doesn’t have the dimension of opportunity that mine did. I don’t think they have thrown in the towel, but they are pretty firm in their belief that it is all but impossible.

What happened? I look at their life and wonder at the opportunity.

The technology alone makes a difference. The amazing capacity to connect to hundreds of thousands of people nearly instantaneously is staggering.

When we were struggling with great effort trying to “change the world” we did it through meetings in coffee shops, on green lawns at college campuses, and at late night crowded apartments. Today there is more coffee then ever and more green space at colleges and still crowded apartments, but not much is moving in the direction of “making a difference” in the minds of our young people.

I actually think they are wrong.

 

More to come this week! Keep an eye out for the next posting.

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2 Responses to ““Making a Difference””

  1. Sarah January 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    It may be that between the “idealistic” and the “realistic” points of views there lies an entire field of possibilities and probablilites. Idealistically there are infinite possibilies with finite realistic probabilities. Uh oh…was that a little Rumsfeldian? Anyhoo…

    • scotthanley January 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

      Sara, If you were channeling Rumsfeld you couldn’t possibly have had any feeling behind your thoughtful comments (ha!)…but that is not the case.

      I agree with you…there is exceptional range in our opportunities. One of my points in the blog was that remembering our feelings “as they were” at the time we first encountered them in our young ages is a valuable tool to better understand and connect with our children today. With out that ‘tool’ we are at a disadvantage because we wont be able to relate as easily from where they are drawing their perspective. And knowing a little about their perspective can draw us closer to them in a very real way. After insuring their safety this should be a strong second with regard to our intent in parenting.

      I also believe this approach is important in building our adult relationships as well. Drawing upon our feelings as they were experienced in their more pure version when we were young gives us a valuable perspective on the present and especially the many diverse and broad ranged relationships we have to incorporate daily.

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