Monday, September 28, 2009

Generation A

I’ve always felt pretty confident about being in touch with new trends, ideas and generational differences until last week. I had a rude awakening when I co-facilitated a retreat. I was standing in the middle of the circle discussing community development and for some reason said “I’m going to take off my thongs” and proceeded to take off my footwear. I was greeted with a resounding roar of laughter from the group.

With a look of confusion on my face, one in the group said “You obviously don’t have teenagers.” With a shake of my head, a stab to my heart and humble smile I realized what I had just said, flip flops are what you wear on your feet not thongs.

Mac’s are no longer apples that you eat, text is no longer a schoolbook, an icecap isn’t what you find on the north pole, the bomb, not an explosive device, depression not something that took place in the 1930’s and yogi is no longer paired with BooBoo. Intriguing how we move forward in relation to the past. ‘Learn from your mistakes’, ‘history repeats itself’, so do bell bottoms, vegetable gardens and bicycles! What have we learned?

We’ve created a marketing technique to label and target different groups based on demographics. Heard of Generation “A”? It was first coined back in 1994 by Kurt Vonnegut at the Syracuse University commencement address and recently a published book by Douglas Coupland, we do still have books. Those might go by the wayside as well but I’m going to continue to read books about the Great Depression and our melting ice caps, protest nuclear bombs and high school texts that are outdated, reminisce about cartoons while eating Macs from a picnic basket in the park as I flip off my thongs to feel the grass between my toes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Funny isn’t it when things line up and connect people, ideas, thoughts and actions…and we take notice. This got me thinking about synchronicity and so I asked a few people what it means to them:

“My connection with my spouse, you know how we go ‘hmmph’ at the same time? Our thought patterns merge at the same time”

“On the same wave length, more together, more as one but they’re 2 entities”

“Hilarious question because I was going to use synchronicity in an email to … you last night … and looked up the meaning. I didn’t use it because it didn’t fit. So, as you probably looked up, the definition from Encarta Dictionary is 'the coincidence of events that seem related, but are not obviously caused one by the other. The term was first used in this sense in the work of the psychologist Carl Jung.'
Off the top of my head, I thought the meaning of synchronicity was ‘events or occurrences or ideas that occur separately but are related without being planned to be so’. I guess that is close to the official definition.
Is it synchronicity when we are thinking about the same word at the same time, unknown to each other?”

When synchronicity taps you on the shoulder, take more than a note. We are all connected and synchronicity is something that we can build on for individual, group and community growth.

The first thing that comes to my mind is the song by The Police. Visit to watch and hear it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Looking at the road

We all have our perceptions of what the world is telling us based on our frame of reference. When I’m at the lake, I get to see the world through nature.

To sit on the dock or the deck and look north to the lake as I go through my day is almost expected. There are days however that it’s much more comfortable and pleasant to look south at the gravel cabin road framed by towering trees and bush. This is when the strong northwest wind blows, howling at life, when the waves scream and pound the shore as if banging at the door. This call from nature cannot go unheard.

Recently I was out at my cousin’s farm. They live along a major north/south route and were always sheltered from the traffic because of space and trees. Over the years the road became much more traveled and there was need to expand it to a divided highway. They agreed to exchange their land and buffer for a lake. Part of the agreement was to use earth as fill for the road construction. On the flat prairie where the summer sun beats down, a lake is treasured, so as a result of highway construction, a lake formed on their property. Beach sand, a dock and an amazing dare-devil ramp stretching 20 feet from lake to sky, hosting the summer trials for many local teen competitions, also took shape.

It could appear that the road brings unwanted noise, traffic and is an intrusion.
It could be that the road provides access and connection.
The road could open new lakes and grant us opportunity for a different perspective.

It may not be the road that is important, but the implications and attitude toward it that are.