Hope for the Future: Are You Relevant?

Mon, Apr 12, 2010


HAVE YOU EVER CAUGHT YOURSELF SAYING, “I just don’t understand kids today. When I was a kid, we________”.   Just fill in the blank!  Was it “walk 10 miles in the snow”, “get a job to pay for the movies”, “wash my own laundry”, or “do chores every day”?  It doesn’t matter what you put in the blank . . . . . .

Mentor Mama has bad news for you. If you have caught yourself saying this, even if you are only 18 years old, you are officially an Old Fart.  As soon as we begin to reflect fondly on the merits of our own generation and comment with disdain on the generation coming up behind us, we have lost it.  Lost what?  Our edge, our creative spark, our joie de vivre.  Call “IT”  what you will, but it’s gone.

I would call it relevance.  One of the most critical aspects of staying relevant in this world is staying connected with what is new, fresh, and alive.  What could be more fresh and alive than our youth?  Yet, rather than honoring our children, we tend to analyze them, assess their shortcomings, recommend how to fix the flaws, and then categorize them into “generation” alphabet-soup (Gen-X, Gen Y, etc.).

Mentor Mama is by no means a saint. I have three children, 15, 17, and 21.  Need I say more?  I get frustrated, angry, and wacko on a regular basis.  I am often demanding and  judgmental.  In the end, however, if  I listen carefully and I observe these beautiful creatures closely, I am humbled by their creativity and insight.  They give me hope for the future.

Mentor Mama's Relevance

Mentor Mama's Relevance

My children have a wide range of friends, from football players and skateboarders to science geeks and break-dancers and everything in between.  In my experience, all of these amazing young people possess the qualities  necessary to contribute rich, new ideas to our society and our world.  What they lack in experience, they make up for in enthusiasm and desire.

Last week,  my son’s  school hosted a community faire.  The students spent about two months individually researching local or global issues of their choice.  Their research culminated in this faire, which showcased their findings and gave these budding philanthropists the opportunity to advocate for their causes.

Students sponsored a faire where they could advocate for their cause.

Students sponsored a faire where they could advocate for their cause.

The projects were extremely diverse, including highly publicized topics like homelessness, pollution, and breast cancer as well as lesser known issues such as teen suicide, pit bull abuse, and lupus.  The students filmed videos, made sculptures, wrote press releases and created dances, in an effort to move people to action.

Anti-Terrorism Sculpture.  Each dove says "Peace" in a different language.

Anti-Terrorism Sculpture. Each dove says "Peace" in a different language.

The booths at the faire ranged from elaborate to thought provoking and the students were available to discuss their topics and appeal for change.  Each child pursued his or her passion with the goal of  demonstrating that “ONE person can make a difference.”

ONE person can make a difference to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.

ONE person can make a difference to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.

What more can we ask from our next generation than to grasp that THEY can make a difference?  That THEY are smart and productive and powerful.  As their role models, our job is to work ourselves out of a job. “A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others. ” ~Author Unknown

Mentor Mama knows that it is comforting to believe that there was something unique about your generation. If you want to be RELEVANT, however, you will embrace the past, while ushering in our hope for the future:  The Next Generation.

It is only in acknowledging our obsolescence that we remain relevant to what is happening right here, right now!


9 people like this post.

31 Responses to “Hope for the Future: Are You Relevant?”

  1. Beverly Monical Says:

    Great post.I feel like an Old Fart at times. Children will make a difference in the future.What kind of difference remains to be seen. My children are 28 and 23 and I think I did a good job raising them.Are they perfect, no. Parents have to be good role models and provide guidance and pray.Thanks for this thought provoking post.
    .-= Beverly Monical´s last blog ..Do You Have Questions About Health and Wellness? =-.


  2. Val Wilcox Says:

    Oh Nancy,
    You hit the nail on the head! Times are changing so, we have to stay involved to stay informed. Now it’s not only my grown children, but my granddaughters I have to keep up with! Stretching my mind and ideas every day. I love watching my daughter stay right in the spirit of things with her girls and allow herself to be goofy and enjoy life!

    thanks for the smiles today,
    .-= Val Wilcox´s last blog ..I See YOU! =-.


  3. Cathy Cresser Says:

    Hi Nancy,
    I loved this post. As a mom of a 17 year old I have found myself thinking this on occasion. I became a mother much later in life and my son is a blessing. He is an only child and we are close.I am interested in what he thinks, what his friends are doing and I am very excited to see how they are growing up. I catch myself when I am bothered by a new fad that I don’t understand. Yes, I do embrace my past but I do have high hopes for this generation. Thank you so much for reminding us of this!


  4. Paul Klaszus Says:

    Wow… this hit home for me. I could literally hear myself saying some of those things. And I thought I had the creative/open/teachable mentality required to move forward!!

    Thanks for showing me another great angle on how we need to renew our minds!
    .-= Paul Klaszus´s last blog ..Focus is everything. =-.


  5. Bill Cowan Says:

    Being relevant today is important and I’m beginning to understand that. I try to write things that people may enjoy, have a laugh and hit home as well. Thanks for sharing and being who you are. relevant to me.


  6. David Merrill Says:

    Hey Mama, I agree that to be relevant you’ve gotta be keeping up with what’s happening today.

    But I’m also reminded by one of the great prophets of the 20th Century-Rod Serling- that being relevant is not always the most important thing to be.

    In Serling’s “The Obsolete Man” (Season 2, Episode 65 of the Twilight Zone), Burgess Meredith portrayed an old man (old fart?) who definitely was not relevant to the new and hip philosophy and goals of The State. He was executed for being obsolete… as was his executioner who lost his relevancy the very moment he faltered, and failed to live up to the fad philosophy of relevance.

    Serling’s point was clear. Both obsolescence and relevancy are relative concepts void of any intrinsic value. Truth stands apart from and well above both of them. Only truth, then, merits our aspirations.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post, Mama. (P.S. When I was a kid I was notorious-and annoying- for almost always disagreeing with my own Mama!).
    .-= David Merrill´s last blog ..Blogging Essentials For Tribal Syndication =-.


  7. Beth Allen Says:

    Oooh, I love that we were in sync this week with post that acknowledge the power of our youth! :) Thank you for sharing a glimpse into that project on global issues that your children particpated in ~ very inspiring!

    OK….now for my other side…;)….so you mean to tell me that I have to embrace the fact that 5 year old girls are fashionistas and worried about their body image? Hmmm…I know I’m in the transition to being an old fart for sure, but a lot of the “when i was younger….”‘s have merit. I certainly agree that it’s important to stay relevant and know the trends and absorb the energy when it is indeed fresh ~ but i think it often does warrant analyzing. :)
    .-= Beth Allen´s last blog ..The Torch Flash Mob =-.


  8. Don Enck Says:

    Thanks for this topic. We used to walk 20 miles up hill both ways to school when we were kids. :-)

    I was at a recent company training and one of the presenters was talking about how the next generation is the next group of people that will be the people that will take our business to the levels we aspire it to go. These people are talented and very smart and they should not be ignored for they truly hold the keys to the future we will see.

    We all need to be reminded of this, even if they wear there hat backwards.
    .-= Don Enck´s last blog ..Master This Skill and You’ll Discover a Goldmine! =-.


  9. Garth Says:

    Hi Nancy,
    Sometimes I wish I had listen to my mother, she was right.
    Love your insight.


  10. Krista Abbott Says:

    Mentor Momma,
    You have such a delightful way of making a valid point. :-)
    I appreciate your style. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring experience with the “next generation”.
    .-= Krista Abbott´s last blog ..Viral Explosions Book Launch Gets You FREE Stuff! =-.


  11. Walter Says:

    Indeed most of us are stubborn with our old ways. Instead of embracing change we enforce our obstinacy. Today generation is different than ours and we just need to go with the flow, let our experiences be a guide and not a hindrance for the youth. :-)


  12. Edward Says:

    Hey Nancy,

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I never though of relevance in that way before. It has made me think about what is going on in my mind when I fill in the blanks you mention and share them with my kids. How is it really adding value to their lives? How is it allowing me to connect with them more. I strive to be relevant and connecting with many great people around the world that is so possible these days. It is like you can not help but stay relevant.

    Make it a great day!
    God Bless,


  13. Eiji Morishita Says:

    Thanks for letting me into your world. Love the personal touch! =)

    It’s been awhile since I’ve said that statement. Must have been in my 20′s.

    One of the major ahas in my life that I teach to my students is that our genius comes from our childlike self and remember your gifts of playfulness, curiosity, laughter, enthusiasm, and innocence.

    If you want to see an example of how to live life, watch a 4 or 5 year old.

    Reminds me of a story of a teen who have never seen someone cook a hot dog by boiling it. When asked how they cook it, they said they nuke it.

    Thanks Mentor Mama! Love the pics!

    To Your Genius,

    .-= Eiji Morishita´s last blog ..5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Luck & Be Lucky (Hint: Doesn’t Involve Charms) =-.


  14. Sandhan Says:

    Wow! what an interesting post. (Sometimes when I find myself behaving like my mother I really do feel like and old fart!! But i watch that pattern vigilantly).

    I am the proud mother of a 28 year old daughter who attended one of the most progressive and avant garde schools in the world. The kids from that school are some of the most amazing young people on the planet because they had the freedom to forge their own way and set us all an example. But boy, were they unruly and did they give us sleepless nights!

    Hanging out with those guys was one of the greatest privileges and steepest learning curves of my life since they were never afraid to be themselves, honest and out there, irrespective of the consequences…. and yet they were only able to incarnate as such audacious and gifted human beings because people like you and I set the tone for them to arrive in to a different vibration…..

    Somewhere I almost envy them because they have by and large avoided the ‘angst’ and soul searching of my generation but staying abreast of them keeps me current and on my toes as I watch them forge through life like trailblazers. And yet I’d never trade my ingrained life experience.

    And so I remind myself that I was also a trailblazer in my time too… we’re not so different!! But unlike David Merrill I don’t wear my hat back to front but only because I look like a dick!!

    Great writing..


  15. Bruce Backman Says:

    Nancy…having seven children myself I certainly can appreciate what you have to say. I often have mixed feelings about the upcoming generation and I have to catch myself to see the “beauty” of what you are talking about. The creativity and ideas and especially the energy is something to be encouraged and perhaps even directed a bit.

    My problem is I have such absolutely wonderful and fantastic children it is hard to see many of the other young people out there without seeing them through the prism of my own kids. I need to constantly remind myself that all of these young people have some very unique things to share with all of us…and sometimes they just need some support and encouragement to grow into all of their potential.


  16. Karin Says:

    What we are saying about our next generation, I am sure, is the same as our parents said about us. Speaking of relevancy.
    Nancy, you are absolutely correct that if you are willing to see it you can see a lot of good things in a lot of people. Young or old. I love talking to the younger generation and their ambitions. Does not matter what they are. It fascinates me to hear the plans they have for the future. I cannot help but believing that it will be a bright one.
    .-= Karin´s last blog ..4 Tips for Building Trust Online =-.


  17. Kellie Frazierk Says:

    Nancy I sure hope you are publishing in ezinearticles.com and if you aren’t you need my quick start course to get you going. You’ve got a lot of wisdom to share.

    You know we’re both on the same wavelength regarding the next generations and the more we keep saying it the more others will hear it – eventually. Directing our kids can only be done if love is at the core and with their best interest at heart. We’re then kid-centered. If our own interests are at the forefront then we’re self-centered at the heart. Many didn’t ask for the job but did acquire it so bitterness leaves a trail of unwanted kids. Life is full of twists and turns for every child, which is why everyone ought to have a mentor mamma! :-)
    .-= Kellie Frazierk´s last blog ..How Do I Connect? As a Consumer or a Producer? =-.


  18. Julianna Brower Says:

    You made me thnk of Beth Allen’s post this week too re our youth! Did you get to see Jamie Oliver’s food revolution last week? Awesome way the generation of youth came together in a very powerful way to bring an old message of health and wellness into relevancy! I admire you for stayiong current and relevant and pushing beyond your comfort zone to live in our world today!
    .-= Julianna Brower´s last blog ..Health Crushers =-.


  19. Debbie Stevens Says:

    Hi Nancy,

    I want to be relevant and not an old fart! Ha! I think every generation shakes their head at the younger generation. I think about how we must have come across; I was a teenager in the 70′s for goodness sakes!

    You are so right, we can find common ground, and I think you hit upon it – they want to make a difference and we want them to.

    Thanks so much for your perspective.
    .-= Debbie Stevens´s last blog ..Lynn Allen, The Dream Name =-.


  20. Jaclyn Says:

    You always have us looking at topics and issues in a slightly varied angle. I love the approach you bring to the table. Yes, we all have our moments when we see things less than what they truly are but you help to remind us that it’s more than just the surface that matters in the end.

    Thank you so much for helping us all to see the value – that our youth characterizes leadership, productivity, and confidence in so many unique avenues. And that we shouldn’t have to worry about what our future holds in the name of their hands.

    I trust that our youth, including my 17 year old daughter who I sometimes nag at for leaving her dishes in the sink, WILL be powerful, smart, and quite dynamic leaders of our future. :-)

    Cheers to our Youth!

    .-= Jaclyn´s last blog ..7 Productivity Secrets For You! =-.


  21. Kellie Frazier Says:

    When my parents raised me they floundered and did the best they could without taking the time to relate to my hearts desire. When I raised my son’s I too did the best I could with what I was given but my kids desires did not seem relevant to me either. When 11 years later I had another baby I realized it wasn’t what I taught my kids that mattered, it was what I didn’t teach them, and that was, …..that they are very relevant.

    Fortunately for my now teen daughter, she knows she is relevant and she knows I am as well. She keeps me up to date on young life and I keep her informed of what experience has taught me. We make a good team that way. We’ll be posting videos together this coming week so stop back by my page when you get a chance. Thanks for the great post Nancy. It’s all very relevant!
    .-= Kellie Frazier´s last blog ..The Words I Hear Can Connect America – If We Are Willing =-.


  22. Stew Shaw Says:

    Great post Nancy.

    I’ve solved the problem of being considered “old school” – have the kids themselves get older than 30!

    Your son did well doing a poster on Type I Diabetes, an important issue for children and young people and their parents.

    BTW, I was intrigued by the school’s choice for naming the event type. Faire is an irregular French verb which means “to do, to make.” I’ve never before seen it used in an English country, but then I’m not from the US of A!
    .-= Stew Shaw´s last blog ..Cutting Corners in Internet Marketing Might Get Us Stuck =-.


  23. Darlene Davis Says:

    You’re right on the mark with the younger generation. There are many ways that they FAR surpass us—from technology to recycling. My children are 26 and 24. They teach me new insights all the time. Being a parent is the greatest gift in the World.

    Thanks for sharing “Relevance”. It puts it ALL in perspective!


  24. Linda G Cox Says:

    Thank you Nancy! You’ve got my new favorite quote: “It is only in acknowledging our obsolescence that we remain relevant to what is happening right here, right now!”
    .-= Linda G Cox´s last blog ..The Birthing of Self-Esteem in Your Children =-.


  25. Mario Miranda Says:

    This reminds me of creative destruction: the new being formed from the obsolescence of the old.
    .-= Mario Miranda´s last blog ..Easy Does It =-.


  26. Admin Says:

    Hi All!

    It took me a while to get back here to tell you all how thrilling it is to have you visit my blog. Your comments and support are amazing. We have a wonderful new generation coming up and we need to get out of our own way and jump into the fray!

    Lots of Love to All,

    Mentor Mama


  27. Bill Hartman Says:

    Great post. You can never lose investing in the youth of today and the leaders of tomorrow.



  28. Glyna Humm Says:

    Mentor Mama – Great post. I’m sure the youth of the world will make their own mark on society in their own way! We need to have an open mind and realize “times are a changin”. You are so right – if we refuse to keep up we will be left behind.
    .-= Glyna Humm´s last blog ..OnlyWire – Social Bookmarking’s BFF! =-.


  29. Adam Sheck Says:

    Great post, been there, done that. As the father of a sixteen year old, I ponder my relevance. Yet, I’ve learned so much from my daughter and have hope that she and her friends can truly make the world a better place, if even just a little.
    Thanks so much,
    .-= Adam Sheck´s last blog ..Do You Want More Intimacy =-.


  30. Beth Hewitt Says:

    Hey Nancy,

    I really love this post!…I hope I never get past it…or don’t want to keep up with popular culture. I don’t think I will though, because I am naturally inquisitive and have a thirst for knowledge.

    Having said that I want to make sure that my own children also follow in this vain. I don’t really understand people who don’t want to keep up with the current trends.

    But I guess the challenge is going to be there at some point.

    Thanks for the Great Post as Always,
    Beth :)
    .-= Beth Hewitt´s last blog ..Reasons Why You Need a Blog Part 3 =-.


  31. Mark Hiatt Says:

    I definitely am excited about raising my 15 month old and the one that’s on the way with an understanding of what’s possible. Great stuff Mentor Mama.
    Mark Hiatt´s last [type] ..A Powerful Word


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