By Rabbi Rick Sherwin
THE NEXT GENERATION – I love Simon Sinek’s observation: “Leadership is not about the next election, it’s about the next generation.”
To me, leadership of any kind sends optimistic waves of influence into the next generation with a very simple formula expressed by Jasmine Guinness: “Be kind, don’t judge, and have respect for others. If we can all do this, the world would be a better place. The point is to [model] this to the next generation.”
Parents and grandparents, educators and spiritual leaders, employers and employees, white or blue or pink or orange collar workers all know the best way to teach is to model behavior. Our goal should be to inspire the next generation fashion a world that is a bit more cohesive than the one we created. Looking at the chaotic, polarized world today, I don’t think it will take all that much to make the world better.
I have no doubts that the millennials will succeed. My grandparents probably saw their children jitterbugging and swing dancing their way out of the depression and through the world at war. My parents saw their boomer children rock and rolling into civil unrest in the era of Vietnam. I see my early-millennial children with a global view as they are permanently connected to their smartphones, with all the knowledge of the world literally at their fingertips. I have full confidence that Generation Z will inherit a better world, provided that today’s generation does a better job of modeling the character that will lead them into a healthy future.
I recently reconnected with Seth, who just graduated USF, and Lauren, who is entering Florida, two absolutely remarkable representatives of their generation, focused on learning and making a difference in the world. They are kind, sensitive and creative individuals, with the personal quest to touch others’ lives in a meaningful way. Everyone should sit down with the “Seths” and “Laurens” of this generation and see that – in spite of what we see in the world today – tomorrow’s world will be in good hands.
Rabbi Rick Sherwin, a graduate of UCLA, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Rabbi Rick’s passion is filling spiritual services and interfaith educational programs with creativity, relevance, dialogue, and humor.