Friday, October 15, 2010

The Generation of Hope

Over the past few years, I’ve traveled to Africa on several occasions working on our NPO, Think Humanity. We’ve accomplished a ton of things and it’s really rewarding. Seeing people being saved from the dreaded plague of malaria is the spiritual reward and working with such fine individuals in Africa makes it possible.

In fact, Think Humanity would be lost without our famous African Team (The A-Team) that coordinates, manages and leads all of our TH projects. They are the feet on the ground that do the work…along with many young people both African and young people from the western world.

The young people are always there, at the ready. The generation of my kids, plus even later generations are the ones leading an overall ‘charge to action’ for world injustice. Ok, I’m not going to get political, but frankly, I’m quite proud of these generations doing something about world injustice (the inequality of allocated resources based upon place of birth, my definition, with some help from Bono). My generation (Baby Boomers) are (generally speaking, admitted) more concerned about gaining individual wealth, individual security, independence and ‘doing our own thing (how’s that for an indictment on the 60’s movement?). We focused internally, meditated internally for peace and reconciled this all through ‘dropping in, dropping out and dropping acid.’ No apologies here for our rebellious nature, but meanwhile, some 10,000 miles from Haight Ashbury, people were pretty much ignored. And the cycle continued, we grew older, replaced drugs with booze (some of us, at least) and settled into the comforts of modern day Western Capitalism. Our simple goal was to have a nicer income than our parents. A bigger house. More individual wealth. A kick-ass 401k.

These new generations, let’s call them ‘Generation Hope’ (I hate the term Gen X, Gen Tech, because it’s quite insulting to them!), view the world through eyes that we did not give them. They view the world as a Global Village where traveling internationally is as common to the Boomers as traveling to the Bay Area for monthly staff meetings. But their eyes are different. In their eyes, they see injustice and are doing something about it. They are active. They are involved. They are giving their lives to Hope. They seem to care less about a career and seem to care a lot about Hope. They do.

They have a sense that they can change the world, not in the shallow sense of one of my favorite songs by Graham Nash’s “We Can Change the World,” where the reference is to the Democratic Convention in Chicago. They have an urgency sense that spans beyond political affiliations and seek unification. They truly are seekers of Hope.

Back to my rock roots of being a Boomer (and still an active drummer!), it appears that (finally) Generation Hope ‘gets it’ without having to screw with the junk that occluded our Boomer minds; ONLY focusing on drugs, money, status, their corporate careers, sex, rock and roll and eventually selfishness. Maybe we had to go through the 60’s to get to this generation. Maybe now, finally after the drugs are worn off, the real meaning of what we were about is manifesting itself through our children and our children’s children. Maybe we Boomers can take *some* (albeit small) credit for Generation Hope, because they had to learn it somewhere, right?

As I grow older, being of the past thinking of ‘never trusting anyone over 30,’ I hear my parent’s generation continue to banter on how the world is getting worse, things are going to hell in a hand basket and the future is a farce. But my rebellious nature from the 60s still is there and I fight the notion that Hope is gone. Nope, Hope is here. Hope is something us Boomers didn’t quite figure out, but the new Generation Hope has. They realize that ‘significance’ is more important than money. They realize that, truly, ‘we CAN change the world.’

So Graham Nash didn’t have it wrong, he just maybe had a bit too much weed, derailing the otherwise good intentions, which by the way, “pave the way to hell” (Karl Marx, Capital); merely intending to do well, without actually doing it, is of no value. Generation Hope is actively doing something with their intentions and we Boomers can follow.

The choice is now up to us.


  1. I can only imagine what kind of impact the next generation will have - the Bettie Annes of the world. What can we teach her? What will she value? I hope (because that's my generation) that the next is Generation Action, the time in history where all of that hope turns into real lasting change.

  2. I think that my "name-sake" will be a World Changer and continue the legacy that we have only slightly begun. She's a mover and a shaker...ha, that should be the name of her generation! Keeping the hope alive through generations...we can get better with time, but we need to "Teach Our Children Well" --(since we are quoting songs from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.)

  3. ...or "Teach Your Children Well." --what I meant, but "Our" works too.