Embrace Not the New

The old and the new.

The old and the new.

As a skipper, you eschew the modern idea of bachelorhood. But you’ve got a lot more eschewing to do if you’re going to skip well.

It might be peculiar to begin talking about eschewing the new by lambasting the old, but hey, you’ve got to spread the scorn around. It’s democratic. Anyway, the old we lambast today is an old craze: the love of the new. People have been running after the “latest and greatest” since the earliest and lamest, and it’s a tendency that can be ruinous to a solid skipper. Take a look.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want…

In the Roaring Twenties, a revolution in advertising took place. Instead of explaining to consumers how a product met a need, ad-men simply penned up temptations. “You can get X” became “You want X,” and all modern advertising shifted to this new starting line. You didn’t get a Ford because it was dependable, but because it was “in.”

Don't just ride a Stearns...be content!

Don’t just ride a Stearns…be content!

Friend, if you give into this thinking, your family will suffer. Sacrifice only starts with giving up on desires, and it takes off from there. If you can’t get past it, you will spend money, time, and energy on “new” things instead of your family.

Prudence, Says Ed

Edmund Burke was an Irish politician and something of a philosophical hotshot, and his driving theme was prudence—looking at history to make decisions. Why? Because new ideas have unknown consequences. In his time, the biggest “new” was the French Revolution’s total overthrow of the old system. Burke watched and criticized, prophesying that it could end in disastrous consequences, even unholy bloodshed. The Reign of Terror proved him right.

Burke was mocked as “Don Dismallo” in this cartoon for proclaiming possible bad consequences for the then-popular French Revolution.

History shows that embracing the new often has deleterious results—look at the Bolshevik Revolution, the use of Agent Orange, the nuke testing in Bikini Atoll. On a micro-scale, embracing the new can be rough on families, too. Look at third-graders absorbed with their iPhones during dinner, toddlers addicted to manic television shows losing interest in more serene pastimes, or even children preyed upon through social networking sites.

The Never-ending Quest

New things are invented for various reasons, but they’re all supposed to fill some hole. It’s true for toys and ideas, pastimes and government programs. And some of them are great. But following after the new can be a never-ending quest, one that shows a deep problem within.

This quest for the new is a constant quest to fill holes in lives, and if you’re constantly filling them with new things, it’s probably because you don’t know what really goes there. Your family loses purpose and founders, and you’ve skipped to absolutely nowhere.

The Glory Days

While looking sidelong at the new is essential, it’s not quite a call back to some Golden Age. Nevertheless, your past has value, and so does your parents’ past, and their parents’, etc.

If you’re racing after the new, you forget the old. And the old isn’t just made up of kings and wars and inventions and documents; it’s made up of people. Your people. And one day, the past will include you. Eschewing the old for the new means losing appreciation for your family members, and for your kids, it would ultimately mean loving you less.

All your work. For what?

The bottom line: new isn’t always bad, but it isn’t always good, either. Healthy skepticism of the new and appreciation of the old are helpful tools to any skipper.