Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Musings on the Tortoise and the Hare

After reading this listicle, I was reminded why I hate hearing people talk about Millennials. There are so many complaints about our collective inability to be better people that it's a wonder we aren't all committing ritual suicide in front of Sallie Mae's headquarters. Maybe we are averse to blood on our iPads.

But I digress.

These arguments often remind me of the fable of the tortoise and the hare. Every preceding generation is painted as the thoughtful tortoise - patient, hardworking, and resilient. They were able to earn their keep while staying focused and paying their dues. We Millennials are the foolhardy hare - boastful, entitled, and lazy. We sleep while the rest of the world works and that will ultimately be our undoing. So the world says.
The fable only works if the hare falls asleep. What if the hare remains awake?

What if our hare runs to the finish line and realizes that the only thing waiting on the other side is more race?

What if the hare encounters row after row of blockading tortoises jostling for a finish line no one can clearly see anymore, let alone cross?

What if a generation of thoughtful tortoises coached a generation of enterprising hares then stripped the race track?

What if the hare sees destruction and dysfunction at the end of the race, runs back to the tortoise to say "I don't know if running this race is worth it" and the tortoise berates the hare for lacking a work ethic?

What if the hare says, "I don't think everyone gets to run this race. We've left others at the start"?

What if the tortoise replies, "I've made it this far, I don't know why they didn't. It's not my problem"?

What if the tortoise and the hare aren't even running the same race?

It's all fables and fairytales; questions without answers. Maybe Millennials are lazy, entitled, selfish and difficult. Maybe not. It is difficult to understand the impact our generation will have when the world changes so quickly. Simply, the race isn't over.

Or maybe I'm just asleep, and the race is already lost.