Young brilliant minds from across America were gathered in the room. It was an invitation-only event, a "think tank" organized to gather ideas and solutions for the nations and the worlds problems.
It was an experiment!
The young men and women were divided into their areas of knowledge. Huge round white tablecloth covered tables were scattered throughout the conference room. A tall silver pole in the center of each table held a hand-written sign identifying each challenge America faces. Tables were designated for taxes, health-care, education, terrorism, social-security, and more. Chairs were filled, yellow legal pads, #2 lead pencils, and water glasses were set before the participants and they began to realize their task.
The trepidation could be seen on each face. Their eyes were clear and their demeanor was reserved as each one tried to relax. Casual introductions brought a buzz to the room.
They got down to business. A facilitator at each table handed out the charts, numbers, laws, history and projections. Each problem they were to "solve" was explained. The conversations quickly turned serious.
Men rolled up their sleeves and the women put on their glasses. Ideas began to fly around the room. Hours passed.
With no hidden agendas, no personality conflicts and no pecking order, solutions began to take shape. Creative, imaginative and do-able ideas were woven together. The impossible problems were whittled down to simple steps of action. How exciting! Could it be that plain?
Highlights of the day were recorded and I watched the entire process.
The video revealed how the atmosphere in the room gradually changed from intense concern to almost giddy celebration.
Hope turned to success as each tables spokesperson shared with the whole group their brand new solutions. Smiles and cheers filled the room. No government agency, politician, businessman, bureaucrat or university President had ever considered the concepts birthed on that day.
What a refreshing glimmer of the future!
Those young people have the answers!! Is anybody listening?
In observing my generation and those above me, I've come to a disturbing conclusion. Because we have lived long and experienced the joys, hardships and nuances of life that only time can provide we sometimes think we possess exceptional insight! There is a temptation among the aging that leads to a narrowness of mind. WE can easily fall into the trap of thinking that only those above the age of 50, 60, or 75 have any wisdom at all and those young "whippersnappers " have nothing of value to add to society.
Nothing could uglier or further from the truth!
I want us to LISTEN to bright young folks and encourage them to think big thoughts. I want politicians to get out of the way and allow their fresh ideas to bring positive solutions to our country. I want to see a marriage of elderly experience and youthful enthusiasm. We need each other! I want us to help them implement good ideas and never dampen young spirits with "we've never done it that way before" or "it can't be done" attitudes.
The important institutions of our society are crumbling, but I'm so encouraged! There are some young lives ready, willing and able to build them back up again!
Maybe the challenges America faces aren't so hard after all, maybe our own hardheadedness is the problem.
Maybe I'll ask one of those brilliant young minds why I have these deep thoughts at 3 a.m.