Portland Oregon hosted the 2nd annual Justice Conference a few months ago. One of the key speakers was an American hero named Dr. John M. Perkins. He's been a civil rights leader as well as a community transformer. He's been a great voice for justice in the United States in the last several decades and it was my great privilege to drive him around during his time here.
During some of our spare time we had a short conversation in which I asked Dr. Perkins "In this time of twitter, texting, blogs, iphones, and instant information, what can my generation and the genrations after mine be doing to make sure we don't waste our potential? What must we do to not lose a grip on being as effective as we need to be?" His answer was incredibly simple.
"Listen. Make sure you hear what people tell you" He said.
Recent generations don't seem to value those older than them as previous generations did. We've lost a sense of honor that our grandparents held. Too often we focus on ourselves and our peers above those who have wisdom to share with us. We too often care about what we are saying that what others are saying. If someone isn't on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, (or whatever is newer) then we tend to tune them out. This worries me.
The generations of young people today are unique to all others before them. Technology can serve them in a way like never before and they can harness it like never before. Invisible Children's Kony 2012 campaign is a small proof of this. These younger generations are more global and justice minded than others preceding them. They are creative, hopeful, innovative, loud, and eager. However, too often, they are not quiet enough. We are not quiet enough. Part of progress is education and education requires the passing on of wisdom. There are stories, experiences, lessons, hardships, and more that need to be heard from those who have already struggled, failed, and triumphed.
The Proverbs put a great deal of emphasis upon the listening to teachers and embracing education. Being quiet, slow to speak, and having strong ears is a biblical value that this young generation often overlooks. If we want to make change then let's start by listening to the world around us. Let's listen to the one's who walked before us and have experienced both success and failure.
Proverb 19:20, "Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future."