Culture, trends, and relevancy

So I was driving to pick up some pie for the daughter (side bard, Jim n’ Nicks has the most amazing chocolate pie!) the other night and listening to the radio as I was going along I hear an amazing comment. I don’t remember who it was but he mentioned that the past year (2011) had a non-married child birth rate over 50% for the first time in history.

I wasn’t quite sure if I hear that right so I did a little checking and while this is 2009 data it certainly points to a trajectory that would support that statement. I want to look at this in a different light than the normal political discussion about access to birth control etc. The truth is this is a tragedy in the end as it means we have a generation that will largely NOT know what it means to have 2 parents. That is staggering to think about and the ramifications in our culture will reverberate for decades.

So just a few random musing along the way.

  • If you have 2 parents, say thank you and tell them how much you love them for raising you in good times and bad. Because the current generation will just as soon cut and run from the child they helped create.
  • If you find someone that only has 1 parent, give them all the support you can. Because no matter how good a parent they do have, they are only getting 1/2 of the total experience.
  • If you wonder if the Bible is relevant in our times, share with someone how there is a loving Father of us all. Because there are too many out there that have a biological father that wants nothing to do with them.


Truth is simple

I have come to a basic conclusion in life that one of the critical tests of truth and wisdom is how simple it is to express or explain. Which is very different from how I started as a young engineer years ago where my very livelihood was built on fixing complex things. But even in engineering I have come to appreciate that the ingredients of a truly successful engineering solution are simple things, not complex ones.

Steve Jobs is quoted as saying:

Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.

I didn’t know he said this until after his death recently but you can see this embodied in Apple products. I am often chided by my engineering colleagues for using so many Apple products since from their perspective they are “dumbed down” or inflexible. And then I take my iPhone out and do a basic test case side by side with their “better” phone, and most of the time I am done with the task much faster than my friends with their “better” phone. As I tell people, I use Apple products because they are simple to use……they just work.

My experience is that this principle extends to many other subject areas: life, relationships, politics, and religion. Looked at from the negative point of view, many deceptions are built on complexity for the simple reason to confuse and distract from the real story and truth. Some deceptions are not intentional or willful. The complexity vs simplicity principle remains the same but in those cases we use a different word: fallacy, something generally accepted but is not true.

A caution in this is that simple does not mean easy whether taken from the perspective of sharing truth to others or accepting simple truth ourselves. Why? From the perspective of the truth sharer, reaching the simplest form in order to express truth is hard work with a lot of cutting away to reach that point. Alternately, from the perspective of the truth receiver, it may be simple to understand but very difficult to accept the intuitive and natural conclusions that a truth requires.

This reminds me of an old consulting story I heard years ago. An older, retired businessman is asked to give a lecture at a conference and asked his fee for the service. He responded with 3 options:

Option 1 – a 60 min lecture for $5000

Option 2 – a 30 min lecture for $15000

Option 3 – a 15 min lecture for $25000

As any writer or spokesperson will tell you, the shorter the time you have to deliver a message, the more time it takes to hone and sharpen it to the ideas and concepts that truly matter. Truth is simple!