Outside Of The Box…..

The times they are a changin’. I am going back to my 50th reunion at Georgetown next week. I have not been back in forty years. Probably a combination of things but I tend not to revisit the past. My rear view mirror is broken and I see no real reason to fix it. Don’t get me wrong, nostalgia and tradition are fun but I think we try too hard to bring back the old days. Things like they used to be. That just ain’t going to happen.

When we lived in Vail, the local school district was having a hard time keeping young teachers. The cost of residing in the Eagle Valley was not commensurate with their salary. I met with the superintendent to float a different look. The major cost of building is roads and utilities. Every school site already had water and electric and the easy access was a given. Every school has more than enough land, especially in the mountains.

I was also talking with modular home builders in Phoenix. They could do anything from condos to town homes to full fledged residences. What if we had just that? Apartments for the young scholars, townhouses for the intermediates and by jove a house for the principal a la prep schools back East. Everyone was psyched and yet I heard nothing. Then I got word they had taken down some beautiful trees by the river, leveled the lot and put in trailers. Not exactly what I had in mind but at least they were thinking.

We have western states with anywhere from 700,000 to a couple of million people. They adjoin each other. They all have state departments for highways etc. Every county has its own government, police, fire etc. Couldn’t there be some economies of scale? From planning to law enforcement to medicine isn’t there a more efficient way to accomplish things? Maintain the boundaries and of course representation but just lay out as if we were starting from scratch.

Our country is being ravaged by forest fires of all sorts. Jefferson County here in Colorado was particularly struck a few years back. The area lost over 350 homes. This week they signed a contract with a company that uses a converted 747 that can drop 19,000 pounds of fire retardant or water. If it works out shouldn’t we convert dozens of such planes from the boneyard in Arizona where a plethora of these behemoths are baking in the desert sun? Probably couldn’t meet government specs or something. I understand the FAA gave them an incredibly hard time in approving this one.

It’s not just gizmos and business ideas that should face the scrutiny of our national Shark Tank. Our approach to tax reform is archaic. We have been talking about this for decades. Education fits neatly into a discipline first used in the early 1900’s. We are in such a maelstrom of technological innovation and yet we are so woefully deficient in providing adequate employees for this culture.
Illegal immigration may be an ugly concept but it is what is keeping our country going in so many ways. Our birth rate will render the economy of the future listless and recessionary. We are getting older and yet we are not replenishing our workforce. I know it is against the law but maybe, just maybe the law has to be changed. We can stand on principle and get blown away in the process.

I don’t think we have this incarceration thing down pat by any stretch. People commit crimes. I get it. But is locking them away for ten, twenty, thirty years really productive? When they get out they can’t vote, drive a car or many other things we take for granted. Recidivism is at a high percentage. Do you think if we put a guy on the streets with twenty bucks and a bus ticket that he is going to make it?

Part of the problem with innovation is seeing a problem as a problem and not just business as usual. Sure we can find a new app to download tunes or play games but what about improving our everyday life? We have to say this or that doesn’t work as opposed to just shrugging our shoulders and saying, “It is what it is.” It doesn’t have to be that way. What does it take for us to get involved as opposed to closing our eyes in the hope that things will just go away?
Biases, prejudices and ingrained cultures are hard to break through. People get stuck in their ways. It is a comfort zone that feels like an old pair of slippers that we slide into every day. If it was good enough for our parents then it still has to be relevant and efficient. If we leave new ideas to the few we do so at our own peril. They become the dictators of our future. If you say let it be, then don’t bitch about it when it becomes fact. I just don’t understand why we all sit idly by.

I am going to go back and see a campus that is physically foreign to my memories. I will walk the lettered streets and decry the change as I am sure it will have become more effete.The studies more liberal and students more disaffected. That’s okay, I get it. But in many ways my lack of involvement should not retard my amazement but demonstrate to me that I could have had a say but chose not to.

And that is really my final thought. If you don’t like what you see, do something about it. It can be your neighborhood, school, church or current employer. To be meaningful change should arise from a consensus and we are currently not very good at that. Thinking outside of the box is both stimulating and beneficial. You might just have something cooking in that brain of yours whether young or old that can make the world a better place. I am going to do it myself. I hope you join me.

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:

Think outside the box’ originated in the USA in the late 1960s/early 1970s. The “box” is considered rigid and forbidding for anyone to be outside of it. Inside is protection and outside is peril.

Change: Verb Make or become different. Synonyms: growing, dynamic, unstable Antonyms: stable, steady, fixed.

Creativity is intelligence having fun….Albert Einstein

Every child is an artist. The problem is how do we remain an artist when we grow up….Pablo Picasso

When nothing goes right, go left….Unknown

I have never let my schooling get in the way of my education…
MarkTwain

2 thoughts on “Outside Of The Box…..

  1. You covered a lot of ground on this one. Change is hard–even harder to truly embrace it. Even one mom my granddaughters said she hates change–at age 27. So good luck, but I’m with you. Enjoy your reunion.

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