Regarding the page 1 story “Tempers flare at Middlesex meeting” of April 17.
Our generational lens tends to bias the way we look at the world. I’m a millennial generation kid. I’m married to a Gen X’er and have many friends in both people groups. I know “us” well. My Generation X friends are some of the most cynical, pessimistic, antagonistic people on the planet, but they’ve done their homework and they know the right answer. As youths, they were taught to question authority and expertise. My Millennial friends travel in packs and are instant gratification-driven — we want what our friends have, but with a little twist because we’re so unique and special. In fact, we’re so special, each of us received a little league trophy for our participation.
What I didn’t know was that we were the drivers (if this meeting any indication) of a “no-drilling” bus. I’m not minimizing their concerns and thought processes. I think they’re valid and understandable.
What I am asking is that people attempt to look at the world through a different lens.
Pick up your grandparents’ lens and imagine being born into a world where the average household income was $5,000 per year, you saw the Great Depression, you came of age only to storm the beaches at Normandy, and then returned home to start your wage earning years facing a top tax bracket of 94 percent. You smoked cigarettes for 30 years before anyone even thought of asking, “Hey do you think this could possibly be bad for us?”
Or, you could pick up the lens of your parents and realize that in your prime media indulging age you were faced with a 19-inch screen with black and white images and couldn’t connect to Netflix or Xbox. When you were old enough to take a family vacation, you piled into a car and spent 12 hours driving instead of two hours in an airplane. And that car you rode in didn’t have a seatbelt or headrest that came standard in 1960, let alone a five-point harness if you were a child.
The point is we’ve come a long way. None of the sacrifices along the road were risk-free. They took grit and thought, trial and error. They took innovation. That innovation came with risks. Everything comes with risks. I have two small children and one on the way. I’m as concerned for their well-being as any parent. I’ve come to the realization, though, that the only true and lasting protection I can give them is to teach them about a guy we celebrated this Easter Sunday and hope that they understand what he did for them.
All of the other protection I try to afford them makes me feel better at night, but in reality doesn’t mitigate much of the risk that they will run into in the world we live in where cars travel 70 mph, airplanes crash into buildings, bombs go off at the finish line of a marathon, and people steal other people’s tax refunds.
To the greatest generation and the baby-boomers, I say thank you for your innovation. Thanks for balancing my well-being and the advancement of the world.
To my Gen X and Millennials I say: let’s try to do the same.