Old Boys- New Boys

I was talking to someone the other day about the “good old boy” network where they work. It is always surprising that some things never change.

As we talked about the fear that the old white men in charge seem to have of women, minorities, millennials and new ideas in general, it led to talking about entities that have crossed over and now have young white men in charge- “the new boys’ club.”

Where the old boys seem to want to fight to keep everything the same, no matter what, the new boys’ club seems to want change just for the sake of change.

Now you know I LOVE change. I love a new perspective and a new feel when there is change. I rearrange furniture and change the way things sit on my desk just to make me more cognizant of what I am doing. We get complacent and reach for something out of habit. If you move it, then you have to be more intentional when you reach for the same object in a new place.

However, in larger matters, sometimes change makes no sense. Sometimes a big change, just for the sake of making a change, is not the right move. Making a change just because you can isn’t always the right thing to do.

If I move my tape dispenser to make me think instead of mindlessly going to the same spot I always have, that affects only me. If someone is making unnecessary changes for a whole company, community or congregation just to prove that they now have the power to do so, then I have to question that.

The conversation became- which is worse, holding onto the old out of fear or making unnecessary changes just because you can? Do you make strides by holding back? No. Do you make any progress if you only change for the sake of change? Probably not.

The old boys network and the new boys’ club seem to both miss the idea of compromise and common sense. They both seem to want to wield power by making their ideas the only ones that matter. The old boys want to keep doing what got them to power and the new boys want to flex their muscles to show the old guys they are worthy to be in power.

Sometimes all of this wielding and flexing keeps what actually needs to be done from happening. Instead of a good blend of the tried and true and the shiny and new, the old school ways and the new technology, we get a stalemate. While the boys posture and refuse to talk or budge, the rest of the world just wants to figure out what is best for everyone and head in that direction.

Maybe we need a woman’s touch added into the mix. Maybe we can figure out how to get things done without all of the posturing and stubbornness. I don’t know. But something needs to change.

When people refuse to listen to the other side, when no one wants their ego on the line and compromise is a dirty word that is perceived as weak rather than smart, when you identify more with your “club”, party or denomination than with what you actually think, what is best or what is moral, we are headed for more trouble and fewer accomplishments.


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Marietta is a graduate of the University of Montevallo with a BFA in musical theater. She has been performing for over 50 years on the stage and continues to perform, direct and teach. Marietta is married to Tim, has a son named Jon, and a cat named Penny.