In college, among other things, I studied Asian history.  One of the professors described how when a government department in imperial China ceased to be effective, a new department was created.  It would do the work of the old department which was left in place.  In my twenties, I didn’t understand this.  Wouldn’t it be easier to FIX the old department?

As part of the sandwich generation, I truly understand how difficult it is to get one group to change their ways while satisfying the younger groups need to do something new.   Trying to convince someone to try something new when they are being misty-eyed about something old is almost impossible. Do not even get me going about the “good old days.”  I’m a historian.  I know about the pre-civil rights, pre-antibiotic, pre-EPA good old days.  Thanks, but no.

I’ve quit arguing, but I haven’t given up.  And fortunately I’ve found a group of likeminded individuals, all the parents of young adults.  Coincidence?  I think not.  We formed our church’s green committee.   When the Presbytery challenged congregations to feed their local poor, we expanded the garden, handing shovels, hoes and rakes to the teens and challenging them to put some sweat behind those lofty words.

But we didn’t just dare them.  We were literally out in the field with them, leading by example.  We could have told them to quit bad mouthing their elders.  We could have told them to pick up a hoe and get to work.  Instead we picked up our own tools and led them out to feed the poor.

I thought that I would rue my time in the field with an achy back and blistered hands.  But no one in my immediate family was a gardener and I’m enjoying learning about growing food.  Lead and learn new ways.  Not a bad combination.