Today as I was sitting in a café enjoying a latte, my attention was caught by the conversation at the next table between an older man and a teenager I assumed were a grandfather and grandson. From their tone, it was obvious that there were differences in how each generation perceived whatever topic they were discussing. I detected passion, with a hint of humour.
Watching their good-natured interaction brought back memories of conversations I had with my own grandfather. As a child and young adult, I was most fortunate to have all my grandparents in my life. Each of them taught me important life lessons that I appreciate more as I get older. I’m blessed not just with wonderful memories of the times we spent together but also with the wisdom they imparted.
One day my grandfather lamented the apparent apathy of my generation when it came to making a difference in the world. In response to his concern, I boldly commented that his generation didn’t always have a great track record when it came to changing the world. My grandfather gave his rebuttal in a serious tone, and I’ll never forget what he said.
“John, each generation has its own opportunities to make a difference. What each generation does with these opportunities tells us a lot about who they are. What defines us is the life we lead and what we leave behind for the next generation.”
He continued. “My generation worked hard for a better world but we were not perfect.” Then he paused and admitted: “Our generation did leave your generation with a few challenges… We wanted to see what kind of problem solvers you are. So,” he added, with a twinkle in his eye, “start texting your generation and get busy finding solutions to make the world a better place.”
This conversation with my grandfather plays in my head whenever I have moments of doubting that it’s possible to create accessible and inclusive communities. His words remind me that we have lots of opportunities to make a difference, in both small and significant ways.
So Grampy... I’m texting to find solutions!