by Robert C. Frank
The current presidential campaigns bring back memories of the anger and hopelessness of the late 1960s and early 1970s which were related to the Vietnam War, environmental pollution, and civil rights. While most of my adult life has been spent in the quiet atmosphere of science labs, for a brief period in those earlier years I found myself in the eye of a storm. I had agreed to serve as an interim Dean of my college for a few months, totally unaware that I would be there for the entire year. It was a year when college students all over America would use sit-ins and street marches to vent their anger over the perceived incompetence of all the established educational, government, and religious institutions.
Near the end of that academic year, with reports of guns in the dormitories, we had to shut down the college for a day to talk and relieve the stress. After that the school year finally ended peacefully. The following year was relatively quiet on college campuses and I went back to teaching physics. The lesson that we learned from that turbulent earlier year is that anger produces stress, but doesn’t solve problems. Teamwork and persistence are required to solve problems.
The presidential campaigns have recently been fanning the flames of anger in young people. This time the focus is on the war in the Middle East, climate change, and economic inequality. I think we need to learn from the past. Today we have more and better resources for solving problems than we have ever had before, but governments, educational and religious institutions all need to concentrate on improving teamwork.
Robert C. Frank
Author of Christ’s Team