Wisdom from a Young Leader (Hannah)

On Sunday, May 6th, I helped facilitate my last graduation of students from our Region’s Youth Leadership Program on the beautiful Milligan College campus. In the last 10 years, I have had the blessed privilege of seeing around 300 students to this point. There were a few unique things that made this last time special.

One of those I share with you here. At this graduation exercise, the students present a brief talk before the attending crowd. Following is one talk on which I found myself hanging on her every word. Consequently, I asked Hannah for permission to share the manuscript of her speech here on my blog. Enjoy, share, and please respond with a comment and be part of continued encouragement for this wonderful young leader. Thank you Hannah!

Hannah’s Talk …

You know sometimes when you’re standing right in the middle of something so substantial, it can be hard to see the big picture; and my generation is living in the very heart of a technological revolution.

Fifty years ago, you would actually have to get out of your seat if you wanted to change the channel, and computers were as large as bedrooms and not something you could use at home. Likewise, one hundred years ago portable telephones were just a dream and the radio was gaining popularity. If you look into medieval times or even the early renaissance period, you would see that one new invention or change in one hundred years was an accomplishment.

Now, we are impatiently awaiting the arrival of the new iPad, iPhone or wireless vacuum cleaner that does the cleaning for you. New technology is just a part of our modern culture and although it’s all fun and useful, there are also some negative effects involved. The things that are supposed to make our lives simpler can cause clutter, and also be a source of division.

Yes, with phones and video chat we are able to keep in touch with friends and family that have moved away, but they also keep us from face-to-face conversations with those who are close to us. For example, a minivan with a TV attached to the ceiling of the car. These can be useful on long car rides when kids get really bored; but I think a child can survive a 15 minute car ride to the grocery store without having to watch cartoons. I remember whenever we would go on long car rides when I was younger, my brother and I would make up stories and reenact them with whatever stuffed animals I happened to bring so we didn’t really need the TV.

Other examples can be seen at any average high school with teenagers walking down the hallway on their phones listening to music or texting … while that thing standing next to them? Why yes, that is a fellow human being. Our imaginations and creativity, along with the discoveries of those who came before us, are what enabled us to come this far; however, if we don’t take some time just to stop and think without the aid of a television or discuss something with someone face-to-face, we might lose the thing that has carried us through wars, diseases, and disagreements among friends: our humanity.

So, while extremely useful and fun in many ways, technology can also be a hassle. It can cause clutter and be a source of division in our lives. I’m not saying that you should throw away every worldly device you have so you can find yourself, but maybe every once in a while instead of turning on the television, you could discuss something with a friend or family member, or maybe try something you never have before.

It’s a big world out there with lots of different places that don’t require 10 lbs worth of devices, and plenty of sights worth seeing through your own eyes and not the screen of a computer … so just enjoy it!

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This entry was posted in Confidence and tagged , , , , , by Jeff Brunson. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jeff Brunson

In this whirling 21st Century the individual needs to embrace the authentic self and confidently leverage the energy and power found there. As we entered the 21st Century, I became more concerned about what leaders like you needed for successful influence and personal fulfillment. As we move deeper into this challenging 21st Century, I’m more convinced than ever that the core of my work is in helping individual leaders remember who they are − a trueness. It is about confidence found in your authenticity.

5 thoughts on “Wisdom from a Young Leader (Hannah)

  1. It’s so easy to forget that when you are focused on one thing, you are neglecting another- even if you are “just checking your phone.” Do one thing and do it well. Be present.

    All these electronic devices have an OFF button, try it out sometimes. You can even put an appointment on your calendar 🙂

  2. Love your perspective, Hannah. Your story is so important because there is certainly a perception that young people today care more about their iPhones than the people with whom they communicate via these devices. I have listened to more than one person lament the lost generation. Isn’t every younger generation “lost” in the eyes of those who came before? Benjamin Franklin said, “Show me a person who was not liberal in their youth, and I will show you a person who has not truly lived.” Or something along those lines.

    My point is this: you express a very common opinion…that technology can threaten our ability to connect with one another on more intimate, human levels. We are gregarious creatures, and, for the most part, we seek out contact with other humans. The flipside is that technology allows us to create and maintain relationships we might not have otherwise been able to enjoy. My response to your story (as shared by Jeff) exists only because of technology. In the end, an iPhone is simply a tool to fulfill a need. What we do with the tool is what truly matters.

  3. Hannah, one of the leaders I sent your post to responded as follows:

    “Very insightful. And I think as time moves forward and the ‘younger generation’ begins to run organizations or teams or other people they are going to realize that you just don’t get results out of people by sending them texts and leaving emails for them! It actually takes talking to people. But that is only going to occur when the individual realizes that he or she does not like to be managed via text or social network.”

    Thank you Hannah!

  4. Wow… with so much to do each and every day I guess we look for shortcuts to achieve them all, when in reality so much of what we do is unnecessary. After all how much really contributes to the bigger picture? My biggest successes usually come with relationships that were built by face to face interactions. Thinking back not many of my true, more valued relationships were ever established by not having some face to face interactions. Over the past few years I have built a true brothership with a peer of mine in Ireland. When he was in town I invited him to my house for dinner and to meet my family. That level of interaction was priceless. As for my 4 kids I’m going to turn off the TV at dinner, remove the videos from the truck and see what happens. Please pray for me. LOL… Great letter Hanna!

  5. Hannah you ROCK! Thank you for sharing your speech with Jeff on his blog. Technology is good in many ways, it helps with the business world, it educates kids, and it connects the world in a faster way. However, moderation is needed. Technology cannot replace basic communication skills. Not to say technology should be taken away, but our dependence on it should be greatly reduced. Thank you for helping to change the way we view technology as a need but as a helpful tool for our youth.

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