Each year millions of people make resolutions as the new year begins. Many of us fail to live up to even the best intended vows to be healthier, exercise more and improve ourselves. Still the notion should not be abandoned. We are human, sure, but we are can be part of something much more – a rebirth and a new generation of hope and promise.
Consider the Renaissance. It was a rebirth during a cultural movement that started in Italy in the fourteenth century. It encompassed a resurgence of learning and widespread educational reform. It is perhaps best known for its artistic developments of the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term Renaissance man.
Arthur O’Shaughnessy wrote a poem simply titled ODE in the second half of the 19th century that concludes with an observation that is also a challenge:“ EACH AGE IS A DREAM THAT IS DYING, OR ONE THAT IS COMING TO BIRTH.” O’Shaughnessy’s poem makes us think about what we as individuals and as a generation might bring to the coming new age and what kind of influence we might all be on the next generation. We look at the enormous challenges the world faces and at times feel discouraged. But remember, the future depends on all of us. Together we can instigate a rebirth with some simple resolutions that can truly change the world and its prospects for the future.
Maybe if we all think a little differently. Consider being more like the Renaissance man. Approach each new day with a positive outlook and thereby influence greatness in others. Don’t forget, in spite of all the troubles in the world, we have unprecedented communication tools and fantastic research and development moving forward at a remarkable pace.
We are not all great artists and thinkers but we can all consider the hopes and dreams of future generations and apply that simple vision to become part of a better world. Hope and vision can inspire greatness. Be a patron. Encourage others. Be a mentor. Help a child learn something new. Look at how much influence you can have in a single day.
The rebirth has to start somewhere and that start could very well be you.
Optimist contributor Wes Morgan: originally posted December 30, 2010