A fascinating post by Jean Russell (born 1972) about which generation (mine or hers) is the change we seek. Jean is writing about our mutual friend, and boomer generation social change activist, Tracy Gary. Jean is wondering how the elders who have seen the promised land will pass over, or if we can. Jean thinks not, though she has that gentle Millennial kindness, the sweetness not to hurry her well-meaning elders along, knowing that our time is basically over.
What Jean senses, correctly, I believe, is that we Boomers will not be able to evolve fast enough to remain fully present. We are already history. I had been thinking about this myself. (Jean and I are trading emails about how to create learning communities online and off around giving. What she understands is that we elders can't.) I had decided that I was living in two worlds, Jean's and Tracy's. Online my friends are mostly of Jean's age and ethos. They let me be myself. They get that one person who is fully authentic and transparent needs at least 44 pseuds to body forth the authentic core self. In the so-called real world, the influentials are mostly my age and I have to pretend to be a pompous ass to fit in with the prevailing ethos, the proven best practices. At my age, you are supposed to stand convicted of your sorry past. You are supposed to stand with that little sign that criminals hold up with the name and a reference number for your corporate photo. You have to have a resume that the boss can validate. You have to be accountable at all times. How can we get social change when our generation thinks like that?
Recently, at a meeting of family foundation elders and children, we discussed the change of generational consciousness. It was kind of fun and kind of scary. The twenty somethings were so polite and silent as the elders spoke, or orated, or opined, or pontificated. The children were invisible, just listening to the certainties. But when I asked the younger people if they lived on line and if they felt their way of looking at money and philanthropy was a new peer to peer consciousness, they all smiled and looked at each other, and the room came alive. The parents were clueless and fell silent. As moderator, I let it run just long enough so the parents could feel the "family" that these children shared: They were members of the global online tribes. I recognized that mentoring the young might be a bit presumptuous. We had better, especially when it comes to topics like building learning communities, start taking our cue from the young. They are the change, whether we seek it or not.
Much too nice, the lot of them for my taste, but at least as they wheel me into the sunshine, they are respectful of my old bald head, covering it with a straw hat, so I look like a proper scarecrow. They are the nicest pallbearers a man might wish, or a planet.