A New Connected Generation

| November/December 2000

Five Signs of the Coming Revolution
•The Resurgence of Citizens' Movements
-Paul Hawken

•The Graying of America
-Gay Gaer Luce

•The Rising Challenge to Corporate Control of Our Lives
-David Korten

•Our Rediscovery of the World's Mysteries
-James Redfield

• A New Connected Generation
-Margaret Wheatley

Join the revolution! Café Utne is hosting discussions with several of the visionary authors who contributed essays to Imagine. For a full schedule, go to www.utne.com/salon.aspx

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I am on Lake Powell in the southwest United States, drifting along the borders of Utah and Arizona, thinking about America's next 50 years.

I am spending the week on a 54-foot houseboat with 13 boys between the ages of 15 and 20. Lest you doubt my sanity, know that I learned long ago that my teenage sons move as a clan, comfortable and happy only when they're surrounded by friends. I am having a wonderful time tuning in to life as seen by strong, creative, young American men.

The future depends on our young men and young women. The America I am trying to imagine is really theirs to create. On the boat I ask a few of them what they imagine for the future.

This is what I hear them say: They want less hate. They fear for the planet. They want robots to do dull work. They want schools to stop being so awful. They expect pure (electronic) democracy. They want to stop violence. They want to stop being desensitized by the media to violence, suffering, warfare. They want to be loving, supportive parents. They want to stop taking America for granted.

As a group they are wonderfully American: Among them is one South African immigrant; one first-generation American with parents from Argentina and the Cherokee and Chickasaw nations; many of northern and southern European descent; one with Choctaw ancestors; and one descendant of Ulysses S. Grant. President Grant's descendant has had a hard life and is in foster care; many, including my two sons, are children of divorce. They come from poor families as well as wealthy ones.

I can't help but notice the special quality of their relationships. Instead of the macho behavior that many expect from young males, I see displays of support and concern. When one young man freezes on a cliff, paralyzed by vertigo, three others work patiently and lovingly to help him down. I am surprised by their sensitivity to human psychology, and their ability to use this awareness to explain one another's motivationsññwhy any one of them is doing what he's doing. They are far more skilled at this than many adults I know.

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