For Future Generations: Passing the baton

Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation…” John F. Kennedy in his 1961 Inaugural Address.

It’s a struggle every generation faces. It’s never easy. And the next generation is rarely adequately prepared. Yet, the baton passes. Dropped a few times, perhaps. But the race continues. A 44-year-old JFK realized he was taking the baton from a 71-year-old Dwight Eisenhower. He was the Future Generation accepting the baton from the Past — or Passing — Generation.

The Passing is happening again. And, this time, like the others, it seems painful for the generation holding the baton and attempting to pass it along. But is this time different? Is this time more important? Is this time more meaningful or more difficult?

It’s unfortunate, but in the new era of entitlement and bombastic, shout-you-down rage, it is evident that chivalry, common courtesy, respect and consideration have been kicked to the curb, and that may be putting it lightly. When did that happen? And, why is there such arrogant disregard for the things that were seemingly part of our culture even just a couple of decades ago?

When did men, for example, go through a door before a lady? When did simple manners stop being a thing? When did a simple, sincere “thank you” or a respectful “yes sir” or “yes mam” go by the wayside?  When did mutual respect for another person’s opinion suddenly become a mockery and demeaning pomposity?

People yell over each other, not listening to ideas, needs and the thoughts of people they call friends. The attention span of Americans is now less than that of a goldfish, according to a survey by Microsoft.

To be sure, times have changed, and are a changing. But just like any other generation, it is incumbent on me — on you! — to pass along the traditions and heritage that are the cornerstone of our society and culture. That are the building blocks of generations of our families.

Enter For Future Generations. Passing the baton is always a struggle for one generation attempting to share its values to the next. But in these chronicles each week, we’ll attempt to remind our kids what is important and how to stand out in a world of relativity, chaos, darkness and wishy-washiness.

My dad passed away in the summer of 2017, leaving a legacy that will last for generations of Baileys. He was a kind, gentle, relatively quiet man who led by example rather than empty words. He taught me so many of those basic values that seem to have escaped this generation. Many of those values, I just thought — and still do — were commonly understood and venerated by everyone. For example, I just thought all men held the door for the lady or at least let her walk in first. Apparently that is not the case.

We will chronicle many of these elementary standards and ideals here as we pass the baton. We may not be able to change the direction of a nation, but we will certainly make certain the history is in the books and that the lineage has a connection to the representatives of the next group. There is a remnant.

Years ago, the famed preacher T.F. Tenney said his generation was struggling with how to pass the baton to the next generation of Christian leaders. That’s always a struggle, but it’s imperative we make it happen. Not only imperative, there is a duty to do so.

The torch is passing. We’re beginning to hand off the baton. Are you doing your part to keep the flame burning?

And watch for upcoming chapters of For Future Generations.

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