Well, it's an early fall once again here in central Pennsylvania. I just came in from walking the dog, it's in the mid-60's, the sky is clear and cool...and the high school band is practicing the old stand-bys. I live next to State College High School, and this time of year I always love to hear the new State High band practicing in the cool of the evenings. Tonight as I walked the dog, it was pleasant to hear the refrains of America the Beautiful, followed by the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Mine eyes have seen the glory...!
It occurred to me that although we face what seems to be an insurmountable mountain of problems as a nation, the youth of our country are as vibrant and as full of hope and intelligence as we ever were, perhaps more so. A few days ago, we received a visit from a young man, a family friend, who spent the summer in Silicon Valley amongst the tech-heads who seem to be shaping the future of our country...and he seemed oblivious to the problems we discuss daily on the national news. He was full of spirit, energy, and optimism, as he explained to us the deals that he was working on. I like to think of myself as pretty competent in analyzing business opportunities, but David lost me in the details of his "angel" investors and the latest software his new start-up was developing. I don't understand how they make money off the internet, and probably never will. But they do, and they do, and that's what is important.
It is a national disgrace what we have burdened our future generations with, but this I believe...they will rise above the adversity. Somehow, someway, they will adjust to the global economic conditions, and come out on top of them, just as American generations have always done. Once again, sometime in the future, they will be building houses in bright new subdivisions; they will be furnishing their homes with the finest wood products, and they will be living lives full of hope and confidence. 2011 may be a repeat of 1991, or 1972, or 1943, or 1938, or 1930, or 1921...but in their futures, 2011 will be just a speed bump that they barely remember, if at all.
With that thought, we might be well advised to think forward to better times, and to plan for them accordingly. If we need to sacrifice now, let us do so, with the idea that whatever small things we can do now, will be worth doing. Let us strive to instill in them the knowledge of the better things in life...the pride in a song well played, the satisfaction of a piece of wood well-turned, the value of a commitment fulfilled. For a generation that made "sustainability" a common term, lets move our young folks toward an appreciation of a truly sustainable society...one that lives within its means, works hard for its rewards, and treasures the peace that comes with higher values.
Once upon a time, nearly every young person could easily tell a piece of oak from a piece of maple. Now, perhaps one in ten or twenty can do so. Wood isn't exactly the key to life, but its a good place to start.
Here's to a fresh beginning in the circle of life. Tomorrow will be better...may it be filled with smooth, shiny, beautiful wood products,...and the joy they bring to our children's hearts!