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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


Lessons Learned in Italy: Valuing the Past and the Future

Last week, my family spent time in Italy. It was an amazing vacation. This week, I am blogging about lessons I learned while we were there.

The City of Rome was a favorite for us. As you know, it is a combination of old and new. We immediately saw people on cell phones, computers and other portable devices. The transportation system was well thought through. Commerce seemed to be working in the 21st century. What struck me about Rome was that the “new” additions were often built right on top of (or around) the “old” features of Rome. For instance, new apartments were built behind old pillars from centuries ago. It gave a cool feel; almost like “ancient future.” Stores were built on the steps of centuries old structures and a set of restaurants were stationed beside the old Pantheon. It was a beautiful combination of the past, the present and the future.

I think we can learn something from this. We need to consistently be building something new in our lives, but not neglect what’s gone before us. Our future should be constructed on top of the past. This doesn’t mean we are confined by past systems; I simply mean we appreciate and can stand on the shoulders and learn from the great minds of our ancestors. Our heritage can springboard our work for our descendants.

What are you dong today that builds on the past? How can you express appreciation for someone who paved the way before you?




  1. Daguirrem on June 2, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Blessings Dr Elmore: And yes: the unique value of the past is the good heritage we received as experience to address the present looking forward to the future. The past hurts when it never decides to become only history and stays as active participant on our present .

    • Tim Elmore on June 10, 2011 at 8:36 am

      So true. It’s so easy to focus on painful parts of our past without celebrating the good parts. Great reminder.

  2. Trent Thomas on June 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I loved Italy when I went.  It was just as you said.  Also, thanks for the reminder of learning something new everyday.  If we aren’t learning, then life is pretty boring. 

    • Tim Elmore on June 10, 2011 at 8:38 am

      We had a great time there – Italy is like no place else!

  3. Jackie on June 3, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Want to thank you for your insights.  Have been following you for a few months as an unemployed mother of 4, 14-21, myself and 2 children in college I am very interested in the next generation.  Just signed a job offer yesterday focusing on the older generation, managing a team of younger ones.  My  desire is to bring 2 generations together.  Perfect post to thank you for your insights. 
    I also was amazed walking down the modern street in Rome and turning to see the Coliseum and Forum ruins.  Stunning.  Enjoying your takes on Italy, my 4 children vividly recall swimming in the Mediterranean off a paddle boat near Positano and watching a spontaneous parade for the local Sorrento “soccer” teams victory.  Community amidst tapestry. Creation testifies!

    • Tim Elmore on June 10, 2011 at 8:45 am

      Congratulations on the new job! I hope you find these posts helpful as you work to bring the generations together.

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Lessons Learned in Italy: Valuing the Past and the Future