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Family & Farms

This weekend my wife and I and our two little ones made our annual pilgrimage to upstate New York on what we call our “farm experience.”  We stay in rustic farm settings and mostly hang out with animals and each other.  It’s a time to forget about things in the grown-up world - no Vladimir Putin, no President Obama, no worries about ISIS, Iraq, or Iran, no central bank monetary policy, and no financial markets.  During this time all of that stuff loses its relevance, giving way to hugs and kisses, some whining, games, silly laughter, singing songs together, petting animals and other similar things.

The experience this year triggered memories of my father preoccupied with grown up things.  At that time the issues were different but seemed to be just as grave to him as the ones today are to me.  I remember thinking to myself back then, “What’s the big deal?  Why does my dad worry about that stuff so much when issues like the Mets or Knicks, or my friends or little league games matter so much more?  I suppose that, like my little kids today, I figured that all that stuff that my dad was so preoccupied with would resolve itself somehow as all of the similarly grave issues of generations past had.  Sure they often are messy with lives lost, but my dad’s worrying never saved a life or changed things in any way.

Today the world surely appears to be in a precarious spot.  An Islamic Caliphate is forming in Iraq, Iran will get nuclear weaponry, Russia is making serious moves to reconstruct the former USSR, China’s economy is sputtering, and Europe’s economy is stuck in the lowest of gears.  America’s economy seems to be a bit better off but there are many who are being left behind permanently which will surely lead to societal problems.  And fiscal imbalances are far from being resolved in the developed world, creating a fundamental instability.

In the end these issues will all be resolved, just as past seemingly critical ones have been.  New and very challenging issues will most certainly replace today’s issues for our kids’ generation to deal with.  Maybe in the end the kids of each generation have it about right.  Sports and animals, hugs and kisses are what matter.  My 5 year-old Everest would call the rest “so boring.”

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