Brenda’s Blog – May 31, 2016
“To Denison we raise our song, fair college on the hill.”
Opening the big, brown package brought a surprise – a memory book from the class of ‘66. I did not graduate from Denison, but remain on their “friend-raising” list. In recognition of the 50th reunion, they published a book showing each 1966 incoming freshman with notes on life experiences and current pics.
Names and faces triggered memories. “Died” triggered recognition of life’s fragility.
What was the spirit of 1966? It was a magical time. The College Board once produced a report showing SAT scores peaking in 1962 (our high school graduation year) then declining for years. We were kings, sitting atop the mountain. We were the product of post-war enthusiasm, economic growth, and industrial creativity.
We were the last of the Builder generation identifying more closely with our parents than even with our Boomer siblings. We were energetic, focused, yet traditional. Our values allowed us to desire change without advocating destruction. We saw working within the system still had possibilities.
Not surprisingly, these men and women excelled in careers… law, medicine, corporate leadership, and entrepreneurship. Most were married with children (many of whom were Denison graduates). Expressions of purpose wove throughout the published letters. We were raised by parents who believed in their responsibility to “pay rent for the space they occupied.” We expanded our space, but still send in rent money.
Now as grandparents (and even great grandparents) we look to the senior spirit. The themes of contribution, optimism, and forward thinking show up in our retirement years. We bring an attitude of exploration without exploitation. We lead as the pioneers whose women are the first to step away from full and fulfilling careers. We are not porch-sitting seniors who fade away.
What is your spirit? What is the song your generation sings? What will your letter be for a 50th college reunion? May you look back with joy and laughter. May you see the hand of God in and through the journey.