Texas Presbyterian Foundation

Thoughts on a Hopeful New Normal: Generations Enduring, Together

By The Rev. Dr. Rick Young, TPF’s President

We have spent the latest decade living in a partisan, divided world with little middle ground. A “you’re either for me or against me” mindset seems to have taken over as a cultural norm. We limit our relationship circle to those who think and act like us. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us how much we need one another. It’s time to knock down the walls that we have built between us. In our current environment, we need patience and tolerance—two traits that are hard to find when we are afraid and uncertain.

TPF is privileged to see our partners change the lives of those they serve in innovative ways that keep people connected. As for TPF, we are learning that it is not the building that defines us, but that who we are defines the building. Currently, we are surrounded by examples of people caring for one another. Let’s not only keep this up, but accelerate these occasions. I marvel at the way you are all dealing with this “new normal” that changes every 15 minutes.

Through the study of family systems and sociology, we have gleaned that culture overwhelmingly shapes the attitudes of each generation. The World Wars and The Great Depression shaped the Greatest and Silent generations, while the post-war prosperity, Vietnam War, and changing morals framed the growth of the Baby Boomers. Generation X dealt with high underemployment, a stock market crash, and bubble burst, which obviously changed the lens through which they see the world.  The much discussed and often maligned Millennials were strapped with student debt and an uncertain world order. Generation Z’s growth has been bracketed with the 9/11 disaster and COVID-19. This context allows us to define key generational differences and points of view. Perhaps this understanding will lead to more tolerance and patience, or so we can hope.  Especially now, it’s important to be proactive in agreeing to disagree, so we can unite with others to accomplish the bigger goal of personal and mental health for all.

TPF is a microcosm of this, with our staff representing most of the generations mentioned above. We may have different upbringings and worldviews, yet we are united around the goal of helping our current and prospective partners enable and expand mission. We are excited to share in the way our partners accomplish their mission. You are truly the hands, feet, and mouths of God. For that, I give you my deepest appreciation and gratitude.

In the past few weeks we have heard the phrase “We are all in this together…” numerous times.  Those words are not trite or to be taken lightly.  A cord is stronger with each additional strand that is added.  Please know that Texas Presbyterian Foundation’s Trustees, Executive Leadership, and Staff are lifting you daily in our thoughts and prayers.  We want to be “in this, together” with you.