Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Great Hope For The Future

I was watching a recorded tape of “21 Up Japan” on television last night. It’s the latest Japanese instalment of a groundbreaking documentary series that started in the UK in 1964 with 14 seven year old children taped every seven years of their lives. Its premise is based on that of a Jesuit saying "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Up!) The latest instalment of the UK series is these same children, now all grown up at 49. As far as reality television goes – I think this is pretty much the ultimate and I find the documentaries deliciously fascinating.

They’ve also started replicating the series in other countries including Russia, South Africa, the USA and of course Japan which is how I ended up watching the third Japanese installment last night.

At the end of each individual interview each 21 year old Japanese participant was asked what they hoped for the future. One spoke of wanting children, one of wanting to be a professional baseball player and one sadly lamented that he felt he would always be alone.

My favourite comment was this from one of the participants “At home and in my work, I want to become a person who people say is irreplaceable.” What a fantastic aim and how eloquently put I thought. To be “irreplaceable” – isn’t that a far better expression than to have people think you’re “great to have around” or “fun to be with” or “loveable” or “great at your work” or “cute”. Irreplaceable – at home and at work – what are you doing to achieve this?

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