Foundations left for those who follow.

If you ever get a chance you should study the different generations (from the “greatest” generation to the “silent” generation to “millennials” etc. etc.), it’s a very interesting. Studying the different characteristics of each generation will help you understand how different they are from one another. Looking back at what each generation had to endure and overcome leads you to realise that every generation see things differently. While all these generations live in the same world (some generations less than others), each generation pushes through and lives according to what they “know” is the best way to live – each with different views of life. This is the world we live in today, a large, mixed generational stew of people – all with their own unique flavour. While for some this might spell out a recipe for disaster, others might view this as a recipe for success. Whatever your unique viewpoint, each one is here now, and they play their own role in making life different.

One of the biggest challenges we face with this diverse group of people is that each one has a way of looking at their own generation and making that their focal point, it’s their reference for life. Yes – while your era does make it clear who you are as a person, it would be rather selfish and pointless getting stuck there; especially as each generation has something to pass on to the next one. I wonder how many world crises were formed as a result of one generation failing to keep in mind the next generation that had to follow their actions. Failing to lay down a foundation that would help guide and support the next generation.  Any strong building / structure is only as good as the foundation upon which it was built – sadly, we often spend more time looking at the greatness and beauty of the building, forgetting that the foundation plays an important role.

Every generation lays a foundation for the next one to build upon.

While every generation likes to “live in” and make their generation their focus, it often seems that when it comes to making a positive change, they have this way of expecting the next generation to make that particular change.  A “pass the buck” mentality, while each one simply carries on focusing on themselves. But what if we constantly kept the next generation in mind when making decisions? This would change everything around us. I don’t simply mean your own children or grandchildren. What if the decisions we made today would include the well being and support of an entire generation that followed? This could be anything from the way you cast your future votes and the time you spend on yourself, right down to the way you interact with those younger than yourselves.

While there are a lot of “older” generations who often complain and look down on the next generation, there is something extremely powerful when an older generation begins building, supporting and encouraging a younger generation. I can recall countless times in my own life when I felt encouraged and uplifted by those who were much older than me, leading me to believe that there is a greater purpose and greater things in store for my own life. So, in a way you can say that my life is really a product of a generation, older than myself, who saw value in me and began calling that out in me, helping me to believe in myself. Their decision to build, support and encourage became the very foundation upon which I can stand on today. This is the power of a generation looking at the next and laying something down for them to build upon.

Changing our decisions from self to the next.

Reading this article might make you feel like these words are aimed at those 50 years and older – No! These words are a strong reminder to every single generation, from the oldest right down to the youngest, that we play an important part in shaping one another. Imagine the difference each generation could make, the foundations they could leave behind, if each one of us looked at the next generation as an answer to help make the difference. This however only becomes possible when our own decisions begin leaving out self and our decisions are made thinking about the next one. If each generation expects the next generation to change their way of thinking we will never get to a place of laying down a good solid foundation. It’s therefore imperative that we start with ourselves, looking at our decisions today and asking if our decisions are helping the next generation that follows.

I’m going to start coining the phrase that says, “your decisions don’t only affect you, it affects those around you too”. Each generation depends on the decisions made by the previous one. Something we all know but fail to remember as we go about our day to day lives. We are all busy laying a foundation with each decision we make. The question is – will it be a foundation that will enable the next one to reach greater heights or will they need to tear up those foundations and start all over again?

Never underestimate the power of a decision. It doesn’t only affect you, but an entire generation that follows thereafter. You and I become the foundation today upon which the pillars of tomorrow will rest upon.


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