I feel sorry for the next generation. Admittedly, I
am not very old myself, but as I look back over my life I realize
that the times during which I really appreciated what I had were
the times when I didn=t
really have very much. It seems that the more we have, the more we
want, and the more we take for granted what we have. Many of us
spend our entire life searching for something that we had right in
front of us all along.
My first teaching assignment was at an inner city school. Many
of the children came from the low rent area of town and were very
poor. The school used a large room in the basement as a gymnasium.
The walls were paneled and there were pillars throughout the room.
When you played floor hockey, you had to stick handle around the
pillars. But I never once heard a complaint from those kids. They
loved their gym and couldn=t
wait to get down to the room to play whatever it was you asked.
They were sincerely appreciative of anything you did for them and
took excellent care of their equipment, books and school
My next assignment was at a large, well-equipped school in the
suburbs. The gym was huge and we had everything imaginable in
terms of supplies and equipment. In spite of everything they had,
these children did nothing but complain. Nothing was good enough
for them. The more they had, the more they wanted. Furthermore,
they had very little respect for school property and couldn=t
care less if things were damaged or lost.
I often wondered how the children from my first school would
feel if they had an opportunity to attend the >rich=
school. In retrospect, I am almost thankful that those
disadvantaged children were denied the riches of the suburbs. They
may have had to do without the luxuries that their suburbanite
peers enjoyed, but at least they developed the ability to get the
most out of what little they did have. And they developed a strong
character which would help them face the challenges of the future.
I feared for the children from the suburbs who had only learned
how to criticize and complain about the shortcomings of the
abundances they did have.
It is hard to imagine how the next generation is going to cope
with the choices they will have placed in front of them. If the
technological advances of the past several years are any
indication, the future will be amazingly complex. It will be
geared to personal fulfillment through the use of technology.
People will have everything they could dream of right at their
fingertips, and yet I suspect those very people will not be happy.
They will live their entire life looking for >something
It reminds me of a story about a farmer who had lived on the
same farm all his life. It was a good farm with fertile soil, but
with the passing of the years, the farmer began to think that
maybe there was something better for him. So, he set out to find
an even better plot of land to farm.
Every day he found a new reason for criticizing some feature of
his old farm. Finally, he decided to sell. He listed the farm with
a real estate broker who promptly prepared an advertisement
emphasizing all the many advantages of the acreage: ideal
location, modern equipment, healthy stock, acres of fertile
ground, high yields on crops, well-kept barns and pens, nice
two-story house on a hill above the pasture.
When the real estate agent called to read the ad to the farmer
for his approval prior to placing it in the local paper, the
farmer heard him out. When the real estate agent had finished, the
farmer cried out, AHold
everything. I=ve changed
my mind. I=m not going
to sell. Why, I=ve been
looking for a place just like that all my life!@
My wife and I have lived in our home since 1974. We have raised
our three sons in this house and have enjoyed many happy memories.
Others we speak to find it hard to imagine how anyone could remain
in the same house for so long. Don=t
we wish we had a larger house? Or a house on a lake? Or a house in
the city? Or a house with a pool? Or a house with more land? Over
they years I suppose we have thought about those things, but now,
as we walk around our modest property, immersed in the wonderful
memories of the past, we realize, as did the farmer, that this is
the place we=ve been
looking for all our lives. We wouldn=t
trade it for anything.
Now that our children are making their way into their own
lives, we are witnessing a whole new set of memories at this home
of ours. In the summer of 2003, we hosted the Rehearsal Party for
our oldest, Ryan, the night before he married Angele. They are now
looking for a house in Valley East. Our youngest is engaged to be
married in October 2004. More memories. And Warren, our middle
son, is settling in to a career locally and more memories will be
on the way.
Ask me again...am I living my dream? You bet!!!!
Next time you feel the urge to look for >something
identifying the good traits of what you do have. You are likely to
find that they far outweigh the bad. Focus on what you have and
what you don=t have will
likely seem insignificant.
Until the next time....