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BRAVE NEW WORLD
It has been proposed* that our society is coming out of a “crisis” time and going into one of growth and brightness. By the same thinking, it’s possible our babies could become crusaders of a new society in which the world is increasingly interconnected and less inclined to destructive wars. So what, you say? It still leaves us with too much work to do at the office, a leak in the roof, and two birthday parties to go to this weekend. However, when we are aware of possibilities, we can begin to deliberately move toward the positive society in which we want to live. So I buy into Stephen Covey’s advice of beginning with the end in mind.

The problem with that is that I have to define what I want my family’s end to be. The good news is that when we make conscious choices about the habits we will cultivate for our family, it helps make all the dozens of decisions we make every day stay in line with where we want our families to end up. If I want an uncluttered life, it makes it easier to say no to the concert this weekend. If I want close relationships with my friends and family, it makes cleanup after the family gathering so much easier. What about the bedtime story or fun in the bathtub? It’s a piece of cake with no guilt because it meshes with my life goals.

Meadows and Meadows in their Limits to Growth book have a wonderful list of big social goals that with some personalization can be chunked down into personal goals. Try these from the book:

• Reasons for living and thinking well of ourselves that do not involve the accumulation of things

• Flexibility, innovation, and intellectual challenge that continually enlarge human knowledge

• Human culture that lives in harmony, even joy, with eco-systems

• Abundant, uncontaminated food from regenerative agriculture that builds soils and uses natural mechanisms to restore nutrients and control pests

• Efficient, renewable energy systems

• Closed-loop material systems that produce emissions and products that can be returned to a natural state

• Leaders (like us and our bosses, not just politics) who are honest, respectful, intelligent, and humble; more interested in serving the group than in maintaining the status quo or getting ahead

• Work that dignifies as well as provides material sufficiency

• Social values of community, equity, beauty, sufficiency, and sustainability

These are all such big ideas that it takes some work to make them fit my life. But if I can verbalize the specifics of these goals for myself and my family, I’m well on my way to being able to look back and say that I truly lived my whole life in the way I intended.

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*The Fourth Turning Strauss and Howe

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