It is clear that we are living in an age of challenges, cultural, economic and political change. Each day seems to bring a new challenge and if the media is to be believed the outlook is bleak. I feel it is increasingly important not to let it become an age of anxiety.
If history has taught us anything it is clear to see that any period of challenges can with the right attitude actually be the most crucial time for a positive outlook. Other generations throughout the 20th century have responded well to their own unique set of challenges, to do anything less would be failing ourselves and more importantly our children.
My grandparent’s generation are a great example of this, born in the 1930’s the background would be considered desolate by any standards. The rise of Hitler and Stalin, the Great Depression and the preparations for what would become World War II played out throughout the decade. However remarkably, in response to these stark challenges came an explosion of creativity, innovation and most importantly hope. Demonstrated by art and design movements from Art Deco and Bauhaus to the birth of Modernist painting, the Golden Age of Hollywood was in full swing and the rise of popular music painted a very different picture to the one you would have expected. Louis Armstrong sang the Sunny Side of the Street, Bing Crosby sang Accentuate the Positive, the message was clear.
The Silver Screen was crucial in this age of hope, while physically travelling to a foreign country was out of reach for all but a few a Saturday morning visit to the local cinema instantly transported an entire generation to a different exotic location each week. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Flying Down to Rio, Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca and John Wayne in Stagecoach, for those few hours the possibilities were endless, and for just a few pence everyone could purchase ready-made dreams.
As a father myself I feel we have a collective responsibility to share hope not despair. Just like the 1930’s we are once again living our lives against a backdrop of uncertainty and fear, however why would we let that disrupt access to positive and real experiences. From a day out in London to a week away in New York an unfamiliar setting can inspire and educate future generations helping to ensure we do not let this become an age of anxiety. So I would say to our friends, colleagues and clients “Grab you coat and grab your hat, Leave your worries by the doorstep, Just direct your feet, On the sunny side of the street”.
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