The First Turning

A worldwide climate of positive change and hope for the future.

A Night to Remember

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Last week I attended the 25th Annual Benefit Concert for the Heart Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. The co-sponsor was New Albany-Plain Local Schools. Throughout the evening I watched The First Turning in action. 

The theme of the event was “Playing from the Heart.” Musical selections in the form of vocals and strings transformed the world that night, using lyricism to show the audience how compassion and philanthropy can be daily acts, and how they can influence our future. 

The evening reminded me of words spoken by Mahatma Gandhi. He once said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change toward him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” Though Gandhi is more often attributed with a simpler statement—“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”—I love the depth in the quote above… the idea that even something so small as a tendency can spur a seismic shift in the world’s attitude, and the simple encouragement in his suggestion that we act for change regardless of what others are doing around us.

Though at this particular event, it must be said that it was precisely what others around me were doing that connected me to the hope and desire for change—the very feelings that inspired me to write my book. I was amazed at the impact of the committed organizations sponsoring the event and the inspiring individuals who were honored there. I feel so privileged to have shared an evening with people who are actively changing the future of our children—children who at one time would have faced sure fatality but who are now able to survive and even thrive. I was so completely moved by the outpouring of love and commitment I saw and I will forever carry the melodies of the evening with me.

When I found my way home that night I thought to myself, “There is a movement afoot. Enough good people are doing something. Legs are taking shape and we are making strides.”

While the world rages, while the headlines scream, there are untold numbers of the world’s citizens out there working for a better world. The First Turning. 


Author: thefirstturning

This blog was created as a way to continue sharing the information and emotion behind The First Turning: A Vision of America and a World at Peace. I wanted a platform that could persist beyond the stories and anecdotes published in the book, where an active dialogue can be maintained about the global community as we seek to uncover a new, more peaceful world. My book builds off of the work of William Strauss and Neil Howe in The Fourth Turning, in which the authors identified a distinct generational pattern in American history that they further segmented into a four-fold cycle to describe the corresponding shifts in cultural mood, each one spanning approximately 20 years. Their research extended back to the 16th century and was consistent for over 400 years. The First Turning is a High—a post-crisis emergence of strong societal collectiveness. The Second Turning is an Awakening—an era in which public process is at its peak and people are eager to recapture personal authenticity. The Third Turning is an Unraveling—a time when individualism is flourishing but institutions are weak. The Fourth Turning is Crisis—a time when the nation’s survival seems threatened. Fascinated by their work after, I began to pay attention more closely to the national climate and discourse surrounding daily happenings. At the time, in 2009, we were deep in crisis. Economic collapse, war, natural disasters… I listened to and absorbed the chaos. While I was able to actively apply their findings and theory to the world around me, I noticed something different—something not fully accounted for in their work. I noticed on the one hand that it wasn’t just our nation in disrepair but, in many ways, the world. I noticed too that the dialogue surrounding these events was broad and diverse, not limited to our national citizenry. As my research deepened and expanded, it became clear to me that today’s technological globalization—only a distant vision when Strauss and Howe published their work in 1997—was creating both a domino effect among the economies and societies across the world, and that that same technology was also responsible for repairing the hardship. Technology today is animating our ability to reach beyond borders and barriers to inspire collaboration and affect change in every corner of the earth. As a result of this, it occurred to me that we as a civilization were nearing a First Turning much sooner than anticipated. Technology is actively influencing humankind’s evolution in the context of these generational tides. It is that evolution that I wanted to capture in The First Turning: A Vision of America and a World at Peace, and that I hope to continue with here.

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