Every time I talk to him he tells me stories about war, love, work, business, sport, politics, and religion. He insists that life was better in the 70s. Food tasted better, and people cared more about each other. Do not get him started to talk about sport or politics, because he will talk to you for hours. You might wonder, what and where is Lebanon?
Lebanon is a small country on the other side of the globe. It has one airport and two runways. It has green mountains and beautiful beaches. There are a lot of generous, cheerful people that learning to get along.
In the 1970s, anti-war movements were invading the world, but not in Lebanon. In the 1970s the Lebanese civil war was destroying the infrastructure of the country, dividing east Beirut from the west Beirut and splitting the south from the north. When you grow up in a civil war, you learn how to survive, and it forces you to learn how to fight.To say “Every man in Lebanon that was born between 1940 to 1970 has experienced the death of a loved one, forced to move multiple times, injured at least once, and had to carry a gun to protect his family” would be an accurate assessment of that era.
There is something different about people who grew up in a civil war because there is nothing civil about a civil war. It is brutal and transforming. It transforms kids into adults without having to live their childhoods. It steals the joy out of people’s hearts, and it replaces it with cynicism and skepticism. I was born in the 1980s, at the end of the civil war, the country was trying to come together. In the span between the 1980s and 1990s, my father took every opportunity he can to improve his life, provide for us, and protect us from the brutal side effect and aftereffect of the war. I witnessed my father learn, earn, and grow, and because of that, I developed a desire to be one of the best at anything that I do.
I’m the byproduct of that era. I have an insatiable desire to succeed. I have enough skepticism in my heart to question everything, and I have enough curiosity in my soul to chase anything. I live now in the United States of America, and it is 2020, and I know my kids will ask me one day, “How was it like to live in 2020?”
I think 2020 is one of the most important years humanity ever witnessed. Online meetings, remote offices, distance learning, global pandemic, divided world, poverty, economic depression, mental illnesses, social issues, climate issues, and more. So if my kids ask me 30 years from now, “How was it like to live in 2020?” I want to have an appropriate answer for them.
Will I tell them about the technological shifts? The mask confusion era? The illusion of safety? The unattainable certainty? The empty college campus? The closed dining rooms? The stolen memories? The unreliable news sources? I still do not know what to tell them, but I know that I want to be a role model for them.
Just like I witnessed my dad work as hard as he could to protect and provide for us, I want my kids to remember that I loved them and I worked hard to provide for them. There is no guarantee that my kids will ask me about life in 2020, but I’m 100% sure they will remember my attitude, actions, and daily behavior.
Our kids are watching us, and most likely they will ask us about 2020, what will we tell them?