Archives For December 2013

I love my iPhone along with millions of others around the world. I am so thankful to have almost all of the information in the world that I can connect to from such a little device. For the information and social connection hound I am, it is gold.

Yet, there are many days that I want to throw the phone in the water and say I’m done with it. My very reasonable wife would strongly prefer I put it away more often and she is right. It is a battle I fight daily.

Apple’s latest iPhone Christmas advertisement caught my eye this week.

It is a beautiful commercial that gives you a double take, which is Apple’s intention. After all, it is titled “Misunderstood” and there is nothing wrong with the message of capturing the great moments with your family through your phone. I also love how Apple beautifully showcases the boy’s creative talent to honor his family with video memories. Bravo on accomplishing such a feat, Apple.

iphone

What Apple misses is what the boy misses. He misses the moment and the opportunity to be fully engaged in all of the activities with his family. Thus, he was a spectator rather than one living richly in the beautiful moment with family. Apple has a knack for trying to show us what culture should look like through its products. Although we are led to believe this is the way life should be, so much is missed in this message.

Despite the happy tears in the commercial, my tears were about how technology has removed us from experiencing life without each other’s full attention. When my wife and kids see me looking at my phone in their presence it is a clear message that I’m sending and that the phone is more important than precious time with them. I’ve got to change. We’ve got to change. There is a balance in living life fully and embracing the joy of technology.

This Christmas and New Year, my prayer is for the discipline to be intentional and present for my family and others. It is my family’s prayer too.

What did you think of the commercial? 

How has technology affected the ways you have had genuine connection with others?

The other day I was driving in my car and The Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want was playing. It is an iconic song from the Stones but it is also the memorable opening song played during the funeral procession in the movie, The Big Chill.

I remember my parents in the 1980s sharing how much that movie meant to them and how it captured their generation and its joys and struggles. My parents were born in 1944 and 1945 so they would associate themselves with the Baby Boomer Generation but as the joke in the movie Field of Dreams went, they had two fifties and movies straight into the seventies. In other words, they didn’t fully associate themselves with the hippie movement yet they experienced the complexities of the Vietnam era. Like my parents, I have always felt like I was in a lost generation being born in 1978 and am often thrown in either the younger part of Generation X or older in Generation Y.

parenthood-1989

Harper Lee said it best in the book and movie To Kill A Mockingbird,

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Lee’s wisdom applies to how we feel about people of different generations. In my observations, it seems like the newest generation seems to be labeled as the most “selfish” when if we study history, each younger generation was judged in a similar way. For example, in life I have witnessed many people blame the Baby Boomer generation for their perceived lack of morals but as they are getting older, it has given us time to let history tell their story better. By giving them time, we are learning that they are a generation with great strengths and complexities and we can better understand their impact on the way we live today.

I believe we will be better people if we take time to learn about each other, which will minimize incomplete judgments. The past century has been defined by many things but one of them is the way movies can tell each generation’s story. I have compiled a helpful list of movies that best define each generation. The list is compiled from my personal observations, research and comparison of similar lists online and from polling friends. I don’t expect everyone to agree with this list but my hope is for this to be a way to learn more about our generations through the art of movies.

I isolate three types of movies for each generation; cultural, comedy, and war. I want to know what makes people laugh, how they live and what they fight for. I have watched all of these movies and appreciate them uniquely for what they represent. I hope you will enjoy them too.

The Greatest Generation – The “G.I. Generation” or “WWII Generation” (1925-1939))

Silent Generation / The Boomer Generation – “The Sandwich Generation” or “War Babies” Born 1939-1964

Generation X – The “Gen X’ers” or “MTV Generation” Born 1965-1979

Generation Y & Millennials The “Millennial” or “Echo Boomers” Born 1980-1991

Generation Z – The “iGeneration” Born 1991-present

Which movies do you feel best defines your generation? Why?

In a world of real loss, this post may seem insensitive but stay with me.

On one of my favorite shows on television, The Walking Dead, one of the main characters is killed. His name was Hershel Greene and served as a patriarch to the group of people trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. Over the past few seasons we have gotten to know him better and his wisdom became clearer with his smooth Georgia accent. Hershel seemed to be a devoted husband before losing his wife during the apocalypse. He was also a father of two girls and tried to be as good of a father as possible despite the circumstances of the world falling apart. His clothes were tattered, wore suspenders and throughout the story his beard grew longer and more scraggly. When he died, it was as if we lost a lion. I was stunned by his loss and for the next few days I’ll admit, I kind of grieved. I thought I was ridiculous to grieve for a person I didn’t know let alone even exist. Then I realized that the reason I grieved was because I connected so deeply with the idea of Hershel.

Hershel was a walking and talking, wise Proverb. Hershel was a central voice of reason through the past few seasons of the show and felt almost like another father for the viewer. He sure was to me. He was far from perfect and full of rich humility acknowledging publicly when he was wrong. In the group’s darkest days, Hershel’s words would provide comfort and guidance to everyone.

You walk outside, you risk your life. You take a drink of water, you risk your life. Nowadays you breath and you risk your life. You don’t have a choice. The only thing you can choose is what you’re risking it for.

hershel

I loved Hershel because he was such a genuine character, made for a great book and for a great show. Legendary teacher of story through film, Robert McKee shares in his book Story

“True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure – the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.”

Hershel was character. I will miss Hershel but I am also reminded that to love a character you must risk losing him or her. Losing Hershel also shows us that sacrifice is important. We run toward a safe life yet our heart screams out for real adventure. Characters like Hershel remind me that we have a short time on earth and life is worth risking.

To risk is to live. 

Hershel carried a beautiful worn leather Bible with him throughout the show. I think if he were sitting next to us today he would share where he derives his wisdom. He would share something like this.

Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure. – Proverbs 4:25-26

Who is your favorite fictional character? Why?