This past weekend my brother flew down and we took off for four days of golf, three of them along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama. Compared to what I generally play these courses were a wonderful change, with hills, green fairways, quick greens and four wonderfully challenging, or damning, experiences.
We talked about a lot of things going on with our lives while we played, but I think the conversations I enjoyed most were how our society is evolving. It started me thinking about how much better we might be if the rules of golf could be translated to civil society.
For example, take the drive off the first tee on the Judge course at Capital Hill. The fairway stretches out before you, some 100 feet below where you stand. On your left are trees and wilderness, on your right a lake, but a wonderful green turf stretches straight ahead. All you have to do is control your emotions and drive the ball straight. In life it is much the same thing, if you always move to the left, or the right, you set yourself up to condemn the conditions you find yourself in. Too often, we blame those conditions on things outside our control, not accepting our role in the equation, when in reality it is precisely what we asked for, or allowed to transpire, by those we choose to support in the political arena.
I saw an article today from someone on the Bill Moyers staff who talks about the disillusionment of today’s generation with long-standing institutions, claiming they didn’t abandon the institutions the institutions abandoned them. Those born between 1980 and 2000 are less trusting of strangers, see little difference between the political parties, fewer are marrying, and less than half view themselves as patriotic.
I’m not sure I understand why this should come as a surprise to anyone, it certainly seems inevitable when we establish a society where the role of the parent is challenged, the concept of moral good is questioned, when we seek to make everyone a victim, and where government regulation and restriction impacts each of these children in an increasingly intrusive way. We are moving towards a generation who, having little experience in decision making, will not have the tools to understand risk, or the consequences of their choices. Some will become so fear laden they will do nothing, others will be so oblivious they will harm themselves or others. Those who will mature and make rational choices will become an increasingly rare group.
So I would offer these simple tips for us as a society. Play life as you find it. Don’t spend time worrying about the last shot, concentrate on the next. Be quiet when others are playing. Replace your divots, and finally, be honest with your score, for if you aren’t honest with yourself what’s the point in expecting it of others?