We, my husband and I, were born at the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation. We were born into the relative peace after World War II. Our childhoods were mostly lived outdoors, without the tempting draw of technology to pull us toward a sedentary internal world. We saw the beginning of the space race. We were born at a time that the majority of our moms were stay-at-home ones, divorces were the exception rather than the rule, the same job for bread winners lasted an entire career, there was no such animal as a starter home, and people, for the most part settled near family. We remember a time that existed when extended families, of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles provided a measureable cocoon and poured a treasure trove of wisdom into fledgling marriages and newbie parents. Advice was passed on, support was ready, helping hands and loving hearts were a mainstay. For the most part, that is an endangered species in the 21st century. Those random examples that still remain are few and stand out as stark anachronisms. We have all lost something in the process. Families are scattered, divorce is a 50-50 reality, jobs are global, homes are transient, and culture continues to trumpet that is all about ME. Successive generations have been told that we are smarter than our parents and grandparents, and they were old fashioned and they didn’t understand. Until one day we realize….that they did.
I do remember the extended family, although it belongs to a long ago chapter of my early life story. Lately I’ve thought about this a lot. Whatever we, as a society, have gained in technological and global advancement, we have somehow lost in our connections to people that poured. It is no longer an inherent part of our social world. Culture is telling us that we need healthy levels of independence and self-esteem… even if we haven’t earned it. We are encouraged to feel entitled and be instantly gratified. Culture can be quite a Siren voice pulling us into the danger zone. What’s in it for me? tends to be a continual question posed for us to ask ourselves. That mindset doesn’t engender the idea of pouring.
Where once the extended family was speaking into our worlds, we now have society telling us what everybody else is doing and from afar, it looks okay. I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up what everybody else was doing didn’t quite cut it with my Momma. Somewhere the scattered voices, of those who love us best, have been drowned out by the voices of social media. She, Ms. Media, is a fickle mistress and cares not a lick for us.
Because we have lost the extended family of yesteryear with our global mobility and job switching natures, I think we have to find a way to recapture it as a lifeline to better relationships. Those of us who remember must lead the call. We can’t sit back and critique the mess of society; we must be part of the solution and begin to just… POUR.
Steve and I heard a message about giving back….about investing in the generations coming behind…about pouring. We are not experts…by any stretch….but we have experienced a measure of life on this planet. We are not alone. There are others. There is YOU. We must make it our mission, not to walk away and hope someone else will do it. We must stand by with helping hands, and loving hearts, and offer our support with our time and our treasure chests of wisdom. We must help to give the next generation a map for the journey in lands well beyond where they have traveled. It is our responsibility to pass the baton and help them to know how to better navigate the danger zones and beautiful vistas along the way.
In my years of teaching, I witnessed firsthand the evolution of the breakdown of the American family. When I started my career, most of my students came from two-parent encouraging home environments. Sadly that was not the case when I finished. I had students that were way too savvy with words like visitation rights, custody battles, divorce, restraining orders, child support, and others that littles should not have to know at such a tender age. I experienced the fall out in the trenches and the inevitable emotional problems that ensue from such an insecure home base. It is happening way too quickly. Where do you start to fix this?
I think it starts with pouring. Baby Boomers, we’ve had a lot of time to fill our chests…this should be OUR mission. It should be our MANTRA. Just POUR! We need to leave this place better than we found it. We need to use our time, talents, and treasures to invest. It is not negotiable. It is our responsibility. Think of a pitcher of liquid, when it is full, it has the capacity to fill other vessels. We take what is in one and pour into another. Think about yourself as being that pitcher. There are so many of us in that baby boomer generation who had others to POUR into us. There are lots of vessels that need filling…young children in need of a mentor, college students away from home, couples getting married, new parents, single parents, and whoever else that comes to mind. Think of all you’ve learned along your journey, step up and invest in someone coming behind you. Just POUR!!