The Weekly Dream: The Hardest Task Ever

Today, I found myself watching “Tribal Odyssey” on the Discovery Channel for a couple of hours.  What struck me is how the children had skills at an early age.  They were trained on how to fight, the festivals and how to provide for each other.  I started to wonder, “What skills are we passing to the next generation?”

I, at the tender age of twenty five, realize that I remember a lot more than my cousins who are just coming out of high school (like the 80′s and 90′s).  This is compounded by the fact that I am an old school dude as it is.  So, it presents quite a challenge, already, in relating to the younger generation. 

I know that every generation has its own zeitgeist.  But the advent of technology makes the gulf that much wider, faster and quicker between the 4 or 5 generations now inhabiting the earth.  We work differently, approach politics different, our views and family structure are different.  With intergenerational conflict being an understatement.  However, I believe that there are gifts each generation possesses.

We are all left something from the generation before us, a legacy if you will.  Some are good some are bad.  We must be aware of that legacy.  In the Bible it states that “a good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.”  We must preserve the good and toss the bad.  What have we been left with?  But most importantly, what will we leave?

I am constantly reminded of this when I go to the courthouse and see it tremendously overpopulated by people who look like me.  One young man who was only 19 told me he had never had a job a day in his life and he wished he had stayed in school.   

This blew my mind, because I had my first real job when I was 13.  And I always had hustles before that.  And it was more of the same everytime I went to the courthouse.  Grown young men would always ask me “Are you a lawyer?  What do I have to do to go to law school?”  Only after being asked this question three days straight did I realize what a blessed position I was in being a visible professional in the community in which I was raised.  But this leads me to wonder, “How do we bridge the gap, longitudinally, between the generations?” 

For myself, one thing I always possessed was the rare skill of recognizing and taking good advice.  I always wanted to learn from the experiences of others, because I knew I would make my own mistakes aplenty without having to repeat the ones of my parents, grandparents and everyone else.  I dont have that kind of time.  It may sound arrogant, but I wish everyone else shared this worldview, because just the effort would minimize the stupidity in the world, but I digress. 

I try to spend time and offer cats younger than me, something we all can use from time to time: acceptance.  It is your natural inclination to tell someone when they are making a bad decision, in your opinion.  But you must realize that this is their life.  So I counsel every young person to learn from their mistakes and try to self-contain them as much as possible.  No one cares if you make bad decisions and still handle your responsibilities.  That is easy to forgive.  Where the problem lies is when your crap starts to directly affect others. 

Next, only give advice when it is asked for (this is why I write on a blog, haha).  Most people know what they need to do.  Advice unsolicited is like a weed.  This also takes a tremendous amount of self-control.  I try to prevent trainwrecks, in my life and in the lives of others, rather than sometimes accepting that they will and must occur.  I suggest you learn from me and let nature run its course in people’s lives. 

I got a little off topic.  But in any event, you never know when you can plant a seed in the lives of others.  Just be open to the moment and do what you can, when you can. 

Truth and Peace,

Steven M DeVougas

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2 responses to “The Weekly Dream: The Hardest Task Ever”

  1. The Urban Scientist says :

    so right.
    “For myself, one thing I always possessed was the rare skill of recognizing and taking good advice.”

    Related to that, I possess the rare skill of remembering disappointing outcomes. And I hate being disappointed so I work like heck to avoid repeat disappointments. I know there will always be new ones — but new ones as opposed to the same ones.

    Having a role model or mentor is so important. And that mentor doesn’t have to look like you (same sex or race), but in my experiences with young people (and not so young people) of color and disadvantaged backgrounds, it is necessary. It’s not until they see someone like them t they that sit up and take notice that there are MANY options available to them.

    But it is still hard to see them not take flight and realize their potential. That part is still painful to me. I’ve taught or mentored some really bright kids in the hood. They still call me and let me know what’s going on. I pass along college and scholarship info to them. And they catalog it, seem genuine, but…I keep my fingers crossed.

  2. Antoine says :

    I think this is a great topic, although I am pretty late reading it. I too have prided myself on learning from the mistakes of others. I believe there is an invaluable lessoned to be learned from the mistakes of others.

    For instance, I am the product of a teenage parent, so the last thing I wanted to do was to get some girl pregnant when I was a teenager. Also, being the child of a teenage parent exposed me to things that I know I should not have seen. However, being exposed to things like uncles who sold drugs, helped make me the man that I am today. I saw him at an early age go to prison for an extended period and it helped me to realize how important it was to do things the right way and to empower myself with education. His options were limited because he dropped out of high school.

    With all of that being said, I think the most valuable thing that you can pass down to the generations to come are those life experiences that you have had directly or indirectly that made the most profound impact on your life in terms of decision making.

    Additionally, I agree with the fact that you cannot force people to take your advice; at the most you can only present it when you feel like it necessary or you feel it may be helpful to prevent someone from making a mistake. Unfortunately, at the end of the day people are going to do what they want to do, even if they know they are making the wrong decision. As a youth I tried to talk to my peers about habits they were forming and the importance of staying in school. Needless to say, they told me to stop preaching to them. After that moment our friendship was never the same, they eventually dropped out of school and shortly afterwards served jail time. This is a lesson that could be taught to young men about how they limit themselves when they choose not to advance their educations.

    A little longer than I planned on, but this topic hits home with me.

    ADF

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