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It’s Time for The Health Promotion Elders to Give Back

It’s Time for The Health Promotion Elders to Give Back

 A couple months ago I wrote an essay about leadership and the importance of stepping out from the crowd to shout “Fraud!” “No!” “This is Crazy!” “Off with Their Heads!” and other bursts of honest reactions to dishonest (or, at the least, unexamined) acts, declarations and policies, or lack thereof.  I wrote about the value of being an irritant; a catalyst for change in a world gone soft, lazy, or, perhaps just very tired. Tired enough to allow their affect to shift from outraged and edgy to resigned and apathetic.

When the essay was published, Linda Thomas, from Tapestry Communications, reminded me that — in today’s shaky job market — such boldness, while important, may well land someone out the door and back on the streets. “…there are so many standing in line to take that job of the rabble-rouser.”

Again, quoting from Nancy’s note:

What that reality does is make the impetus for “the elders” ever more important. It is up to those who no longer depend on or are fearful of economic retaliation in terms of job loss or being ostracized from their position ‘at the table.’ These voices are powerful. Listen. They are out there. They are our self-published authors; makers of websites of truth; some even run for office (not many). They speak to groups who want to hear them. They have purity of message. They do not wear jackets with emblems endorsing brands and products. They do not give away pens that tout Pepsi or Coke. They are out there. They are writing blogs. And doing radio interviews. They are tenured professors. Listen to these voices when the roar of the crowd is still…and the pom-pommers have gone away.”

More than an excellent writer, she is spot on. If you are fortunate enough to have negotiated the professional health promotion labyrinth, grabbed the flag and descended from the mountaintop, you now have a responsibility (yes, the word is “responsibility”) to share what you have learned — the good, the bad and the truly ugly — with others. And, most important, as Nancy puts it, “…have purity of message.

With achievement comes debt. Give back to this industry; give back to anyone who can benefit from your experience. Be the voice of those who are not in a position to speak; for those who still cling to outrage and edgy while fighting off resignation and apathy.


3 Comments Post a comment
  1. William McPeck #

    It is important for the elders to give back. Fortunately, there are many ways for each elder to do this. While the field benefits from your decision to be an irritant Michael, not every elder needs to be so.

    I do have any interesting observation to share about giving back. At last year’s AJHP conference, several youngins spoke up about wanting a mentor in the worksite wellness field. I approached each one individually and offered my services. Not one took me up on it.

    While I can be an irritant, I would much prefer the teacher or mentor role as my way of giving back.

    Bill McPeck

    March 22, 2012
    • And what an excellent mentor you’d be, Bill. As one of the outstanding contributor’s to the field of worksite and community wellness, your passion, expertise and experience are invaluable. Thank you for your on-going service.

      March 22, 2012
      • William McPeck #

        Thank you for your kind words Michael.


        March 22, 2012

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