Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tempered by Time

As I walked toward the waterfront this morning, my mind filled with thoughts of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, the bells of the local Catholic church rang out in an extended carillon. That ancient sound brought to mind one of the less-discussed lessons to be learned from the life of Senator Kennedy: the importance of time.

We live in a sped-up era when currency — meaning both cash and timeliness — is generally valued more than experience. This is a society driven forward by the snapping fingers and tapping toes of impatience. We want perfection and we want it now; things that disappoint or fail to deliver are discarded.

In the corporate world, this impatience is a double-edged sword. It cuts down both young people who fail to instantly exhibit whatever traits are in demand at the moment and older workers who chafe against the demand for immediate results.

Senator Kennedy, however, stands as proof of the continuing value of a principle from a different era: tempering by time. This was a man who was full of early promise but nearly lost everything to terrible tragedies and his own personal flaws. It was only with time that he finally recognized his true calling and achieved his true greatness.

Here's to Senator Kennedy, and to time.

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