From the Desk of the CEO, Rod Burkett
A few weeks ago, I participated in a Congressional Briefing event in Washington, DC, sponsored by the National Center for Assisted Living. I have attended several of these programs before, but it hasn’t been held over the past two years due to the COVID pandemic. During this event we make organized visits over a couple of days to our various elected officials to discuss the challenges and successes of our Assisted living industry, and provide advice on how our members of Congress could assist us and better serve our residents and other stakeholders.
While walking thru the Capitol building and grounds, I remembered back to my first time being there as a fresh-faced, goofy 18-year old on my senior class trip. That was 48 years earlier. To further frame the timeline, President Nixon resigned 4 months after our visit, although I don’t think our tour of the White House had anything to do with his upcoming departure. I wondered how I had changed during these past 5 decades, and how our country had also changed.
I think I’m more knowledgeable now about people, places and things. Next, I considered if I have transformed that knowledge into more wisdom and understanding about people, places, and things. Many days, I question my progress on that wisdom/understanding journey, and like most people I know, the answer is a mixed bag. I feel I have some level of success, while still being a fallible, messy human being, but so far, I’m still interested in making the effort to keep trying to figure it out.
So, how has our country changed over the same period? The USA is definitely more knowledgeable about people, places, and things, but what’s our collective wisdom and understanding level? I would say that the answer is also a mixed bag. We’ve made great strides in many areas in nurturing our collective similarities and our differences, but our current state of polarization is not serving us well. It seems in today’s world, when we have different opinions, we spend way too much energy trying to prove the other wrong, instead of looking for the positives that come from honoring all viewpoints. Our democracy, just like people, can be fallible and messy, as we connect with each other.
From what I saw in DC recently, while not a perfect process, most involved are still willing to keep trying to figure out the best way forward.