By Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter
It’s busy at the intersection of:
Student Loan Debt
Baby Boomers exiting the workforce
Imagine navigating a busy intersection and there is no clear guidance – no stop signs, traffic signals, crosswalk markings, or clear lane designations. Imagine having to cross this intersection now, with no time to spare. What’s the best way to navigate this busy intersection? I would say: with a child or children in tow. Why? Because it’s amazing how things will slow down at a busy intersection when those creating the hustle and bustle (the drivers) see a child or children. Things seem to screech to a halt.
I recall seeing this on the crowded streets of Mumbai during a trip to India in 2010. In Mumbai, street signs and lanes were merely recommendations for those behind the wheels. But within this transportation system that many of us would equate with chaos, I saw two things happen. First, I saw drivers correct other drivers with nothing more than the simple “beep” of their horn. They didn’t hold the horn down and press away, they simply gave a gentle nudge. And guess what? Drivers self corrected.
So, what’s the lesson for all of us as we navigate the busy intersection of college and career readiness, workforce development, debt and… well you get the picture. I suggest collaboration in a manner in which everyone’s needs are addressed and honored as a starting point.
During my time riding with our driver in India (his name was Six Pack and, yes, that’s what he told us to call him), I saw children as young as three years old navigating busy highways and intersections, peddling wares and asking for the help of the adult drivers. As I held my breath and had thoughts of fear for the children among the street’s busyness, something amazing happened.
All of the drivers always slowed their vehicles to a manageable halt to make sure no child ever got hurt
Amidst all the noise, we need gentle reminders, not blaring horns, that everyone’s needs can be met. And when it’s about the children, everything can halt to a manageable scene as we walk with them in tow across the busy intersection.