There’s no question we live in an amazing time. Technology is exploding around us; we have experiences and opportunities that our ancestors cannot begin to imagine. As we enter a new year we can witness the birth of Virtual Reality and expect a manned mission to Mars in our lifetimes, but we should realize that none of these things came out of thin air. The amazing accomplishments we benefit from today were built on a foundation of successes in the past, things that in their own time were just as amazing.
It would be too easy to assume in our pride and arrogance that we are better, smarter, than those who came before us, but what we have to remember is that our successes would not be possible without those which came before us. Each generation makes their own advances, successes and failures; and history has proven that no step forward is gained without a price.
I remember walking with my father and listening as he told amazing tales of his past. Oh, there were no computers or any other technical advancement in his tales, but that did not make them any less remarkable. He lived in a time where such things either did not exist or were far simpler, but he had incredible experiences without the burden of such hardware.
My father travelled from Tennessee to Washington D.C. to work on the construction of the Watergate Apartment complex. He raised free-range turkeys on a plot of land that had been in the family for generations. He sold his farm to move to the city so he could make a better living to support his family.
I cannot totally comprehend the times he lived in; just as I am sure he probably wouldn’t understand many aspects of the life I live now. That does not mean we could not appreciate each other, or that we had nothing in common. We could relate to each other on the most basic human levels, and those have never changed.
While times and technology may change, people remain the same. They live, they love, and they face challenges and solve problems. People continue to be human, no matter how advanced they become, and what the future holds. And while we can be proud of what we’ve accomplished in the here and now, there will always be a successive generation to think we are old-fashioned, boring, and out of touch.
Be kind to your elders, and your kids. You have been and one day will be walking in their shoes.