The first time I really stopped to listen to The Times They Are A Changin’ by Bob Dylan I felt like a man. I was a teenager and (although the song had probably been playing since I was in diapers) it totally fed my teenage angst. Lines like these validated my urge to give the middle finger to the world:
“Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand”
The greatest thing about Times is that I really feel that it has grown up with me. As I have aged, I have gotten different things out of the song. Maybe it’s a testament to Dylan and his craft… maybe I’m just a big hippie.
The line that hits me now is the very first line “Come gather ‘round people wherever you roam.” It sticks to my guts. I’m starting to think that teenage Stepan got it all wrong. Maybe the song wasn’t meant to have an “us against them” message. Maybe it was meant to gather people and move them towards change?
Kind of a nice thought when coupled with Seth Godin’s recent blog post about complacency. Seth warns us that “One of the principles of being on the bus, in the class or in your seat is that you are along for the ride. The teacher/boss/driver knows what he’s doing, just shut up and sit still.” Seth further explains that as the world moves to a more grass roots version of leadership, it provides opportunities for all to speak up and become agents of change.
“The order is rapidly fadin’” and that places a real importance on the connections that we make. It’s cool when we use communication tools to share, but the real magic happens when we use social media to really affect change.