Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day

You will need me less after today
At least not in the same way as before
Some day you will be the one to lift me up
To drive me there, to help me fix it
To explain, to help me see
Growing as I fade away

I hope to help you on your course
There is no time to waste
For it's a short privilege that you are
My daughter, my son.

Friday, September 2, 2011


“I think we too often make choices based on the safety of cynicism, and what we're led to is a life not fully lived. Cynicism is fear, and it's worse than fear - it's active disengagement.” - Ken Burns

Standing on the sidelines and making witty commentary is much easier than a full-throated engagement in the fray.  It’s easy to ridicule what has not worked, it’s much harder to dream up the solutions.  So, for many, cynicism has become the default mode.

Cynicism is created when hope meets experience and experience shows hope up.  We leave high school or college with grand ideas of how the world can be a better place.  We wonder why our parents seemed jaded.  We embark on careers full of hope, believing a little inspiration and perspiration go a long way, until many of us hit the walls of organizational politics, bureaucracy, or most depressing of all, people who can’t or don’t want to be helped.  Eventually, most of us settle for making a living and doing good where we can.  We smile a little at those who still think they can make a difference, but mostly we entertain ourselves with witty, cynical comments.

It’s embarrassing to admit that our dreams of bettering humanity have failed.  It’s not the right thing to admit that society is still plagued with poverty, crime, illiteracy, and poor health.  Indeed, it seems these problems are likely getting worse.  While we lock our doors at night and look for the best schools for our children there is still a part of us that resents ourselves for fleeing instead of engaging the problems.  So what do we do?