My wife and I are expecting again. Well, to be honest, our son and daughter-in-law are expecting again but at this stage of life we get to share in the joy too. And a joy she (our first “she”) will be. It got me to thinking. Here I am about to welcome my fifth grandchild into the world. Me! It seems like the last time I checked I was twenty-something and about to teach the world a thing or two.
There has been a lot of teaching since then and I’ve been in the student’s seat for virtually all of it. I’ve learned new things about love, loyalty, sacrifice, and friendship. I’ve learned that life is rarely as difficult as it sometimes wants us to believe, as long as we believe. With a reservoir of faith and strength greater than our own we can and often do overcome and achieve, usually in spite of the obstacles. This is not to say that life is easy, but we often make it more complicated than it needs to be. It is not easy, but it is really very simple.
Right now the economy and its various forms of fallout have us spiraling. While we say we think it has begun to turn upward again no one expects an early return to the old normal. That may never come, and why should it? In fact, why would we want it to? After all, the old normal led us to the current normal and frankly, it’s not so great.
So I asked myself, what would create a new normal that would restore and renew us? The answer is very simple. People would do what they say. Decisions would not be based on greed. Everyone would know that they are accountable and what that means. Value would be attributed to those who create real benefit. We would focus more on the things that unify us than on the things that divide us. We would teach our children that life, not things, have value. We would understand that behavior has consequences. We would know that we are responsible for each other and accountable to each other. We would act with the knowledge that ideals are powerful and can change the way we behave, the way we love and yes, the way we do business.
An idealist, you say? Unabashedly so, but also a pragmatist. I’ve lived the life I’ve lived. I’ve seen technologies and the seduction of success come and go. I’ve witnessed countless “next best things” and movements. And what I see left is people. I see me and I see you. I see that we have power to make choices and the capacity to choose those ideals that are good and reject those that are not. I see that we have a wealth of experience and knowledge and that new horizons call to us. Horizons that will excite us, challenge us, and reward us. I see that we have the opportunity to create something new.
As I look to our collective past I am encouraged. We are not the first to suffer hardship and turmoil. The fact that we are only proves that we are humans living in an imperfect world. What matters most, I believe, is what we decide to do about it.
It really is simple. Do the right thing, the right way, for the right reasons. Give each other the freedom to hold our own beliefs. Celebrate a life in common. Have the courage to succeed.
Simple. Not easy. Vital.