Monday, May 31, 2010

Dedication: A Dying Quality

We speak of privacy, and of business and ethics, and of this problem and that problem, but there is an incessant discovery we will all make when you finally get down to fact: the world is full of people. Social networking is just a means of connecting people, individuals. So we can argue about this and that, opt-in versus opt-out, but in the end, these problems are not about people. They are about the connections between people. However, when you start to see a situation with the people themselves, you've really got to start looking out. I have recognized one of these problems over the past week or so, and probably much earlier than that as well, as the snowball of my realization gained more and more volume. The people in our society fail to exhibit one vital quality, the characteristic that separates the homeless wanderers faithlessly grasping their reality from the grounded confidants with whom we can sympathize: dedication.

When you invest yourself in a task, and have both a stake and an inseparable intrigue, you are dedicated. Before I rant, let me explain what brought about this epiphany. Over the past year, I have taken charge of a number of organizations and attempted to motivate the members within them to be productive. The key value I try to instill is dedication, because dedication leads to motivation, and motivation leads to productivity, something anybody in a position of leadership wants. I immediately found it extremely difficult to elicit the same passion and innovation that came so naturally to both myself and my predecessors, it was like a new generation of children had dawned upon us. Of course, I reasoned that this was only because they were mere teenagers, exactly like myself, and only a select few who have matured enough would meet my desires. I can say with pride that I have at least found that select few, and have organized them into a crew of epic proportions, but that is besides the point.

What triggered this post was when this dedication situation spread beyond my peers, and into the realm of adulthood. For those of you up to date on your science, this week is the World Science Festival, and I will be attending the festival with an educator as part of the Bezos Scholars Program, something I was accepted to quite a while ago. However, I found last week that my planned educator, who had known of the program since September, all of a sudden had various conflicts that are forcing him to be elsewhere. And my retention in the program is being threatened. To see that an adult, not a child, lacks the reasoning to remain dedicated to a program and have the nerve to come up with other commitments mere days before a major program, it scared me. And my fate is still up in the air: we must wait until tomorrow to see if my new educator is cleared for takeoff. But either way, whether this is a limited case study or a growing trend, I feel it is something to watch for.

We as a society need to stop this. Because if an adult can exhibit the same problem that a teenager, that is, the generation that will be taking over the workforce in the next decade or two, then we have a serious predicament. If my generation cannot salvage their maturity and choose not to live up to my educator's example, who knows where they will lead us. With this in mind, I am calling to action whoever happens to still be reading my blog (yeah, the numbers dwindle every day). We need to step up and dedicate ourselves to dedicating others. If people do not realize that society depends on their dedication, our end will surely near. I mean, the media rants every day about global warming, oil spills, economic recession, the list goes on. Do you think these problems would get better if everybody just threw their arms in the air and treated them as drifting hobbies, requiring only as much attention as can entertain the individual? Think hard the next time you make a commitment: are you ready to dedicate yourself?

1 comment:

  1. It is absolutely shameful that the teacher not only wouldn't make the time for it, but waited so long to even shrug off the commitment.