By John Landis
February 5, 2009
A few months ago I was reading some articles about the challenges and troubles we are facing. The articles addressed the economy, the stock market, the bailouts, the government and everyone offered their opinions of what the problems were and who was at fault. It occurred to me that no one was assuming responsibility and accused everyone else. It was at that moment I remembered my father telling me the first person that is responsible for your life is you. So I am admitting our situation is my fault.
You may ask why I am saying this. It is my fault that I believed:
-¢ That if you provide a person the ability to purchase a house without investing their own money and streamlined the process so that the qualifications were minimized, that they would live up to their obligation.
-¢ That both management and unions had to have exorbitant compensation packages to compete in the marketplace.
-¢ That Wall Street knew what they were talking about when they told us that 2 plus 2 equals 5.
-¢ That our elected officials have common sense and understand the needs of the people.
-¢ That when I was ready to retire that someone would give me a great buyout and I would invest my funds in a stock market that would continuously provide exceptional returns.
-¢ That when you turned age 50, the younger generation would take over and we could segue into retirement.
By assuming responsibility to the problem I no longer have to waste my energy on why we are in this situation and now can move forward on the solutions.
One of the first steps in solving our problems is for those of us who are over 50 to realize we have the experience needed to get us through these challenges. When we were in our 20s we thought people in their 50s were out of touch and could not understand the new age of technology. The difference today is that, yes, the younger generation may be more adept at using technology, however, we, unlike our parents, conceptually understand the applications and how to use them.
Together, we need to change the image of what our generation’s value is and convince the next generation that the some of their potential problems can be mitigated. We need to challenge some of the directions that are being suggested.
For instance, we continue to find ways to do things faster and with less human interaction. I can no longer stand by and accept the premise that the ability to gain information quicker is necessarily the number one priority.
We need to teach our future leaders that there is a balance of traditional values and new approaches.
There is an old adage, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” As I have admitted, I have been fooled into believing things that went against my common sense. My position going forward is to leverage my experience, not be intimidated and to question those things that go against what is common sense. I am also committed to working with others to communicate our beliefs and do my part in being part of the solution.
John Landis has worked and lived in the metro Detroit area for many years and is proud to be a member of the Baby Boomer generation.