Monday, July 13, 2009

Labor moves from Cradle to Cradle

Imagine what life would be like if after you retired from working for 30 something years you retired. What would you do with that time? Immediately I knew I'd end up doing mine in service, which got me thinking... My gramps, when he retired took up playing golf. He's in the best physical shape of any 80 year old that I've ever known, and has most of his faculties, which makes it hard to get over on him. My dad is so busy working all the time we don't see him as much, and that was the same scenario with his dad who worked many jobs to support 8 kids. So gramps spends his time making up for that by teaching inner city kids to play golf in the summer... among other life skills. That's actually how my little brother found out about the college that we both attend. --sigh, yes I know he was here first. It's a serendipitous model, but I'm not going to lie. If I get to be half as influential to young minds as he has been to me, I'll have a lot to be grateful for. I think that paternal/crone influence is what is missing in the lives of most of America's youth. And it's only a matter of time [a very short time] that they will be gone and many of their values and work ethic will be lost... particularly if this previous executive administration is an indicator of what we have to look forward to. as rick james once said, "cocaine is a hell of a drug". i think perhaps dubya could have used an elder in his life to guide him to some of the crucial realizations that he missed.

I was thinking that it would be really cool to set up a program for people who want to retire, but are not old enough, or want to spend their sabbaticals in service teaching or providing apprenticeship programs. Perhaps a fund or program could be set up where companies take pension fund money and put it into a program for those who wish to participate, and instead of forcing people into early retirement, or if the people who work for them are a just really too much dead weight but they can't get rid of them because of seniority, the aging or disgruntled worker could be trained to teach young adults practical vocational and management skills through colleges. As incentive for companies to participate in these programs, they could be given exclusive access to pre-screened college undergraduates who receive a stipend from a grant fund to perform internships, before they are hired on permanently onto their new jobs. I think that it could be constructive. It's like a work factory or something. Or at least that's what I pictured in my mind. They say that retirees who stay active have better health and mental well-being than those who become idle. And with the shift in the economic climate, it could be a good use for those who worry that they won't be able to cover their living costs with social security, and would be a better way to take care of those who may not be able to afford retirement, but would prove to be an invaluable asset toward the learning community through their hard work and experience. If nothing else, I'm sure that many older adults would love the opportunity to continue their leisure education and that could open up the market for those who can't afford to go to a larger college to learn holistic, hospitality, or other arts to engage actively retired seniors. cradle to cradle, right?


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