I am reading (and singing) my way through Psalms and the Bible Sampler quilt blocks.
Guide Post Block
Can you guess how many pieces make up this block? 61. Since I have reached, and passed, that particularly birthday, I looked long and hard at this block when I finished it. So that’s my life, I thought, as represented in blue and white years. It sure doesn’t look like much compared to what it felt like to live it. So, so, so much living. From this vantage point in my life, I can say I’ve picked up a thing or two along the way.
More than once I have proposed starting a podcast to my husband. I do this while we go through our typical morning ritual of sipping our coffee on the patio. We usually discuss the current state of things. We solve the problems in our town, our country, our world. Sometimes I wish I was recording those conversations, not only because of their brilliance and clarity, but because of the cleverness of our banter. I would call our podcast, “But What Do I Know?”
It’s a passive aggressive title, yes. It’s said with a bit of grudge inflected in the voice, but stays way clear of sounding smug. We know that we really don’t know much. But looking at what’s happening in our world today, and seeing what people are falling for, we know a lot more than we think. Our knowledge holds wisdom borne of years of experience. But who wants to listen?
Then I return to being “me” and the idea fizzles. I’m sandwiched between two very different generations. The generation that formed my formative years is nearly unrecognizable to the generation coming into its own today. The generation that shaped “me”, as in, my perception of my place in the universe, had these differences:
Credentials – there were institutions to conquer and hoops to jump in order to hold position in society. Educators, journalists, publishers, broadcasters, doctors, clergy – these all had qualifiers in place in order for candidates to practice those vocations. Plumbers, carpenters, and other makers had their apprenticeships and guilds.
Authority – people were accustomed to looking for the qualifying credentials of the aforementioned practictioners and their vocations. If they passed the standardized scrutiny, then they were recognized and respected as experts in their fields.
Self-esteem – What was that? You obeyed your parents and showed appreciation for your lot in life. Any esteem you had was earned by measurable achievement. If you started thinking too highly of yourself, your parents made sure to knock you down a peg or two; it was part of their job description. They thought they were doing us all a favor.
The generation coming into its own today is very different. Thanks to the internet, anyone can be an “expert” and pontificate freely, regardless of their credentials. Their peers don’t care, the old rules and requirements are obsolete. My friend’s “kids” (adults, actually), have self published books, and they’ve created their own talk shows on twitch. I am mystified at the confidence this new generation exudes. You can hear it in their podcasts and on their YouTube shows. I’m glad they have the guts to produce these shows, because I enjoy listening to them. It is not lost on me that these new rules of engagement apply to me as well. I could take the opportunity to join in the fun. I think my husband and I would really like to add to the conversations, but what do we know?