Our generation faces a significant dilemma. It’s easy to be overwhelmed at the enormity of the global challenges we face—trillions in national debt, food and healthcare for billions of people, global warming, and nuclear dissemination, just to name a few. When faced with grave issues such as these, great generations throughout history arose courageously, tackling catastrophic challenges and building a better future for their children. We should do the same. Yet, our challenges are too big for one generation (tweet this).
Take our national debt. Even if we were to allocate ten percent of current federal revenue each year toward paying the debt down, it would take almost 70 years to pay it off. Without the commitment of our children toward a long-term solution, this problem will never be fixed. The same can be said for problems involving poverty and the environment.
We may set in motion great solutions for the future, but future generations must finish the work. Meanwhile, we need the experience of previous generations to help us develop solutions. A prosperous future does not hinge just on our generation finding the courage to arise, but rather on many generations coming together, building one on the other.
Is our society set-up to do this? What needs to change to enable this to happen?
We’ve created a culture that celebrates the success of the individual. We exalt the image of a “self-made” man and write off the contributions of others as “trust-fund babies” who had everything delivered to them on a silver platter. The truth, though, is that the challenges that face us are too big for one generation. While we may set in motion great solutions for the future, it will be up to future generations to finish the work. And, we’re going to have to rely on the experience of previous generations as we develop our solutions. A more prosperous future won’t be the result of one generation rising to the challenge, but many generations coming together, building one on the other.
This is true for us as individuals as well. I’ve personally spent too many years trying to build a great future for my wife and kids on my own. I’m discovering that my success doesn’t begin and end with my contribution. What’s really important is my ability to receive from others, build on it, and to pass along what I’ve learned to those who come after me. In the big picture, the relationship between generations becomes the key building block for the future.
When we see things that way, we automatically elevate our starting platform beyond our own abilities. Our potential is significantly increased just because of a change in perspective. What valuable relationships are around you? What if their accomplishments were not a threat to your success but a compliment? What if you could build on what they’ve learned and achieve things they never dreamed of? That’s the power of honor!
It’s anti-thesis is quite ridiculous: What if every generation learned every lesson for themselves? What if we never passed along successes or failures from one generation to the other? Society would never advance. It would reset itself every 70 years or so! It’s the same with you. The first step toward receiving the blessing of honor is a perspective change. See your life as an extension of generations that have preceded you. Build on their success. Learn from their failures. Discover a future far brighter than you or they could have imagined.
How would a multi-generational perspective enhance your world-view?