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    Hoops vs. YouTube…And a Variety of Tasty Links

    Last Sunday I took advantage of a balmy 45-degree January day in Chicago (a once rare occurrence that this year is becoming freakishly frequent) and took a walk through our neighborhood park. Rounding the corner but still out of sight of the playground, I heard a familiar and comforting sound – a basketball being dribbled and the muffled voices of several boys who I imagined were engaged in a spirited game of two-on-two.

    What I discovered when I came closer was something quite different. There was a basketball involved, but this was no pick-up game. One kid was standing at center court atop a rickety pile of picnic tables and garbage cans attempting to heave the ball (he called it an “orb”) over his head and into the basket. The other two were recording the whole scene with their cell phone video cameras for eventually downloading to YouTube. Given the skill of the kid doing the tossing, I think there was a much better chance that their YouTube video would feature the collapse of their “Tower of Babel” (and you know at least one of the filmers were wishing it would happen) rather than the heaver actually sinking a basket.

    I watched for a few minutes before walking away, scratching my head and trying not to show my advanced age and increasing narrow-mindedness (“why in the world are those boys wasting a perfectly good day acting like idiots when they could be shooting hoops!”) when it struck me. Every generation does things to create their own identity a little differently, and that’s good. If these kids think it’s important to be on YouTube – whether through attempts at pre-staged miracle shots or whether capturing something more random on their ever-present smart phones – then so be it.

    So let’s cater to those interests. Here’s an idea for you. I know that many societies have youth groups. How about staging a contest to create the best YouTube video – one that maybe even captures the essence of what your society (their “community”) is all about. Some of you are probably already doing this. If so, post the entries on the Alliance’s Facebook page so that your peers in other societies can view them.

    Remember, the chances of anyone under 40 (or 50, or even 60) going to a traditional lodge meeting are remote. But folks will connect on electronic social networks. And if we can help facilitate those connections, we can bring people together in neighborhood parks across the country not just to shoot YouTube videos, but to enhance the quality of life in our communities and underscore why fraternals can still be important in 2012.

    Hitting the links…

    Golf season is just around the corner, but until then you can satisfy yourself with these links…

    • McKinsey reinvents capitalism – and it looks like the fraternal model! Read this and see if you don’t agree that what was once considered old is new again.
    • Industry homework assignments – These should be obvious to all of us, but sometimes we get lost in the complexities of running our business. Now and then it takes getting hit in the head with a 2×4 to remind us to KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid!
    • Company man – Thoughts on career vs. independent agents from a true believer.
    • Fraternals provide a better safety net – Jason Lewis has some nice words about the effectiveness of the fraternal system in this Christmas Eve article.
    • Tweet – like a bird – Admit it, you just don’t get the whole Twitter thing. Neither did this reporter until
    • Life insurers vs. do-it-yourself retirement providers – This story is more than two months old, but National Underwriter editor Bill Coffin hits the nail on the head in his analysis of the long tail danger of overselling annuities in a low interest rate environment…

    One Response

    1. As Marcel Proust wrote, “The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

      Younger members today don’t necessarily want everything new but rather “old school” reinterpreted with a fresh approach. There are no new realities. Only new ways enliven old ones.

      Meetings are not unnecessary in themselves – just how they are held. Fund-raising events are not boring – just the way they are promoted.

      And most of all – we must listen to what the young fraternalist is saying without responding, “we tried that once – 30 years ago.”

      What is old is new again! Let us greet each day with fresh eyes

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