Friday, September 2, 2011

Learning from Younger People to...

1. Be Connected
Social media is so much than more noise in my life. It's the potential for real time connections, reconnecting and connecting with people I'd never have the chance to before.

Authors like Mark Batterson, Shannon O'Dell, Rob Bell, Donald Miller, Andy Stanley & Craig Groeschel are speaking every day, and I listen in on Twitter.

The other morning I had a real time 3-way Twitter conversation on my phone with two friends: one in Noblesville and the other in Nashville.

And because life's too serious, I follow Tweets from Jim Gaffigan, The Church Curmudgeon & my son ;-)

2. Be Concise
Now that every baby boomer is on Facebook it's full of bloated posts & comments that look more like essays. Twitter forces me to pare it down. What am I really saying? How do I say it in 140 characters? That's a healthy discipline. I've noticed it's reshaping how I think as well--thinking in more concise thoughts--getting down to the issue.

3. Be Open
Lately I've noticed how much I've heard people my age proudly proclaim, "Ah, I have email and texting. I don't need Facebook or that Tweet thing!"

Let me paraphrase that, "I'm old and don't care what anyone else is doing. I don't need to keep up with the times. I don't need to learn new technology or ways of staying in touch with people."

Imagine someone saying as the telephone was coming in, "Well who needs some clanging noise-maker in their house when I can go down to the telegraph office and get it in writing?"

4. Be Patient
It's so easy at this age to want to jump in, redirect, show them the "right" way. (As if I'm always right ;-)
It's harder to be patient and gracious. It's easy to butt in. They remind me how much I wanted to do it myself at that age.

This is challenging. I want to add advice appropriately, sparingly, encouragingly. I also want them to feel valued and built up. I want young people to smile when I'm headed their direction; not annoyed, "Great, here comes Morgan again..." (Insert eye roll.)

5. Be Alive
Younger people model excitement and happiness like no one else. The things they love in this life ooze out of them. They smile and laugh a lot. They're passionate.

What a noble, endearing and attractive quality. And as I observe them, I realize the more decades I live, the more likely that stuff nu-noticeably leaks out of me, a drop at a time. Resenting this trait will make me old before my time. Aspiring to be more like them in this, has the opposite effect.

Speak Up
I'm blessed to have so many younger people in my life. I'm not just living a segregated life of people my own age. There are so many integrity-filled and talented younger people I have the privilege to know, work and serve with.

To all the younger people in my relational world, I ask that you would speak into my life when you see something that I need to grow in. I want to be open. I want to be approachable. I want to be connected with you. I want us to learn from each other and have fun in the process.