Several years ago, I was visited by Duane, a friend of mine from back in Illinois. Before I came to Colorado, Duane and I worked together in a group called Illinois Writers, Inc. -- a motley crew of poets from the central part of the state. In his day job, Duane is a community college administrator.
We were visiting about important early influences in our lives. Duane started talking about one of his teachers back in elementary school. "Dr. O'Hern was incredible!" he said. "He's why I became an educator."
When I was growing up, there was a lot of talk about the "generation gap." Mainly, it was conflict between the GI generation and the Boomers -- the Veterans and the War Protesters. Nowadays, the conflict isn't quite so obvious.
But you know it's happened to you.
You're a Gen-Xer talking to a Baby Boomer, who is being so maddeningly circular that you have no idea what she is trying to tell you. Or you're a Boomer, wondering why the Gen-Xer doesn't seem to have any loyalty to the company.
Someone told me about a recent study of long term survivors of open
heart surgery. They were surveyed to find out what motivated them to
recover. The reason was not, as you might suppose, "to avoid death."
It was for some more positive outcome: to spend time with their
grandchildren. To tour Europe. To learn to play a musical instrument. To
finish the garden.
It makes you think. Many people work in businesses that have problems,
too. At some point, the question becomes, "how do we get better?" In
I can't remember if I was 13 or 14. I do remember that I was playing a lot of chess.
Back then, a lad could wander downtown, stroll into the old library (the new library was a couple of blocks away) and face a series of old guys over a chessboard.
It was timed chess. When you made a move, you slapped the clock.
I fought my way to "expert" status. One of the people I played was a charming, near-bald, older gent with the uncharming name of Bevier Butts.