Let’s inspire the next generation!
I’m starting to feel my age. Throughout my career I’ve always been younger than average, whether in employment, in management, in local politics, in self-employment. But in the last few years since I’ve passed the big four – oh, I’ve started to notice that I’ve caught up with that average. It’s not just that – muscle memory is much harder to develop. I’ve been trying to teach myself front crawl in the last 6 months and it hasn’t been pretty – coughing up half a swimming pool at the end of each length. We bought a second hand piano in the summer and I can still play pieces I messed about with a few times as a student better than those I’ve patiently worked on week in week out in the months since. Most shockingly, I find it hard to go out mid-week and get much work done the next day – the pub quiz team has had to do without me. I have to face it – I’m getting old.
But what does bump me out of me this self-indulgent introspection is my children. I love their crazy inventiveness and imagination. The elder two (4 and 6) build amazingly intricate and complex lego spacecraft that put the rather more rectangular models of my youth to shame. They don’t see barriers, they just let their minds go.
Last year I went to my eldest’s school to talk about recycling and the hardest thing to explain was landfill. They couldn’t believe we throw stuff in a hole in the ground. “Why don’t we recycle all of it?” yelled one indignant child, a question which was very difficult to answer.
This makes me really hopeful for the future. In the same way as an iPad and wifi is just part of the furniture to my boys, they will see renewable energy, recycling, telecommuting, the sharing economy, electric vehicles and the digital technology as the norm, not something in an exotic niche or too complex. Their minds are free of the baggage of the old economy that my generation still carries.
And it is our responsibility to encourage and inspire them. To avoid letting our cynicism hold them back. We owe them that – after all, it’s their future that’s at stake.