Young people, I find, have no problem with trying stuff. Hey, push that button and see what it does! Click here and see what happens. Download this program, it’s great. They are not afraid of the new, the different, the thing they don’t know what it does. They are immediately willing to engage with the process. Give it a try. Because to them everything is reversible. It can be erased, taken back. It leaves no footprints.
Most adults, I find, do not share this approach. They are immediately concerned about permanence, about impact, about “what if I change something or make a mistake?” They are reluctant, reserved. They practice to get it right before they ever give it a try.
I find myself, now, in the middle of these and it’s ironic. I see the value in the “just try it” approach but everyday I struggle to overcome the tether which says, “get it right before making it public.” I credit (and blame) a young, techie person named Dana for inviting me on this path. She told me to go ahead and write it. Put it on your blog (not this blog, actually but a professional blog I write for my business). Have that be a collection point for when you want to share it. She convinced me that everything online could be taken down, changed, edited, shuffled. This gave me permission to explore my options. I am extremely grateful to Dana.
But from this place, the “go head, give it a try” place, I look over both shoulders…
at the young people who are keen to explore interactively but because of this (I think) consider nothing permanent. Reality shows aren’t reality. People on tv, radio or internet don’t really mean what they say. No harm done because it’s all pretend. If things get out of hand we hit the “game over” button and start again. We’re sort of locked in one big computer game like the Matrix where our lives are being manipulated by someone in charge of The Program. To them, engaged in the process, being in the game, is life. And that’s enough. Process is permanent and product completely temporary.
at the adults who want to take classes to learn exactly the right way to do this online thing. Products are permanent after all. Can’t take that back once you’ve put it out there. Or worse, it might have unintended consequences, so they research it from every possible angle. They practice and rehearse, perhaps permanently. No release in sight – until they get it right. By then, the opportunity offered or problem to be solved is gone.
I’d like to think of myself as a young, old person. (Young adult already has it’s place.) A person old enough to realize the potential for impact mixed with a person young enough to be willing to try stuff. For me this happens at a place that allows keen observation AND manipulation. It is a place of interaction – where I can enter the action.
I am considered all this as I bend to write with my finger in the sand -just as Jesus did before the “teachers of the law” who brought to him the woman caught in adultery. We could spend hours debating just what Jesus wrote. And we’d never know who was right. This issue cannot be resolved by debate and study because Biblical accounts don’t say. Yet, when my finger meets the sand I write, “What will I say to them?” It’s what I imagine Jesus may have thought (or perhaps I have projected my thoughts on Jesus) but the question has become real because I have made it so in the sand.
And, simply by writing it, I discover a way I have never seen before. Jesus would not ask what should he say? He asks what will he say? His Father already knows. And He, being completely in the will of the Father, will say just this. I am amused to think that even before He spoke it He may not have had it in mind. But when He went to speak he would “know” what to say.
Ha. It’s no wonder these kids so love the interactive approach. Just get your fingers moving – on the buttons, the keyboard, in the sand. Manipulate the materials and see what happens. Then, let the waves wash away the evidence. Or, game over, begin again.
There comes a point when we must stop practicing for perfect and risk perturbing the system. Learning while doing seems most efficient and effective in a world moving so fast. It won’t wait for us to get it right. It will forgive us for getting it not quite right. It will expect our performance to be better next time, but think of the continuous impact! Now that’s something worth keeping.