Do you ever forget that there is so much more to you than simply your career and your family? Your family can be a blessing that makes life so worth living. Hopefully, your career calls you to continuously become so much more of who you are meant to be. Nonetheless, the many additional aspects of you may include your love of sports, your love of the sun, the outdoors, movies, walking, or hiking, etc.
In addition to those, for most of us, there is also a calling to be a part of something bigger. To be a part of a community that feeds us and a part of making this world a better place. Since middle school, I have been involved in diversity and equity issues. This past Tuesday – 55 years to the day of Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder – a cherished friend of mine hosted an event at Three Rivers Community College here in CT. She presented a panel of Millennials sharing their ideas and concerns in the world of diversity and inclusion. Racism, sexuality, education, and even financial security were brought onto the table.
What a reminder to me that no matter how much we explore what is happening in the world, allowing ourselves to see things through the eyes of another group, another generation, is a gift. Their basic life experiences were so dramatically different from mine. I grew up hiding under desks in elementary school as a practice drill in the rare case of the Russian’s bombing us.
Kids today are now practicing how to remain silent and hide from a sadly expected, and somewhat common, occurrence of having an angry AR15 owner show up. No one knows where or when, but most realize it won’t be long until it happens again. The shock now is only where- not if… In addition, one panelist stated that it is now predicted that 300 million jobs will be lost to AI so how is he to expect any job will be life-long or provide financial security? Each generation can learn from the other.
In hearing all that I heard, it makes perfect sense to me that non-life-threatening issues such as race and sexual preference are not big deals for most of these younger folks. They have no clue why older generations are so caught up in a fear of what color/race is the majority or minority in this country since we are all in this together. Younger generations have confusion about the so-called critical race theory and banned books. They simply want to learn. Their parents and grandparents are the ones concerned about white fragility with an inability to see that history is history and it’s necessary to learn from the reality of it so that the errors are not repeated, and the successes are duplicated.
In speaking to one participant, it was clear that since another person’s sexual preferences have no impact on your sexuality, there is confusion as to why it is important to you. Yes, some have been taught to fear and/or hate those who are “different,” yet we are all different, so the natural response is more around confusion of why these issues of race and sexual preference take up space when life-threatening issues are rampant.
One question I had upon leaving the meeting was how many, after hearing all this, are concerned for our future and how many have more hope based on what was shared? My work in this area has been impacted and now hope as well as concern exist. For me, thankfully, faith comes into play, and I trust Spirit is here to guide us. I pray we listen.
What is your interest in creating community? A community garden? A church or synagogue? Are you involved in helping to make this world a better place through involvement in a non-profit? In a cause? In helping neighbors? No one area is more important than another. Every one of us needs support. Every one of us needs to know we make a difference and that we are having an impact – whether big or small. It keeps us young, in hope, and realizing that any one person can make a difference in the life of another. All we need to do is take action, knowing that, as a bonus, when we work with a multitude of generations, we all grow and learn from each other.