Why We Need to Embrace the Ancient Future: Podcast #34

Today, I’m thrilled to share a conversation on what many call “The Ancient Future.” It is a term we must be mindful of as we lead the emerging generation in such a rapidly changing world. I hope you listen to the full conversation and weigh in on the discussion. I’d love to hear your thoughts.



Andrew McPeak: I am really excited today because we are having a conversation about a subject that affects a lot of the people we work with at Growing Leaders. That subject is technology, the future, and how we need to adjust our sails to successfully navigate the course. How do we handle technology well but still hold on to timeless principles? When it comes to this subject, I’ve heard you call it “The Ancient Future,” and I was wondering if you could explain why you use this term.

Tim Elmore: I actually love this term, but it didn’t originate with me. I’ve heard a few people use it over the years. “The Ancient Future” is a term that describes the need for students to be connected to their heritage and to virtues and values from the ancient world. In contrast, the future is a world of the unknown—full of technology, hope, and invention. I hear from coaches, parents, and teachers about their concerns that the next generation’s focus is weighted towards technology—not the virtues and values.

Andrew: I know I’ve heard you say, “We need to be timely and timeless.” Can you talk about that in the context of figuring out what are those timeless values?

Tim: I think the terms “timely” and “timeless” are two critical concepts for teachers today. We are in a rapidly changing world. So to be timely, is to be current. I need to be very current as a parent, educator, coach, and leader regarding what is happening in culture and technology. At the same time, I need to marry the current culture with the timeless truths that come out of an “ancient” culture—a context that maybe the students wouldn’t even know.


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Now one of the Habitudes® that we love talking about is bottled water. Bottled water is an illustration of both the terms, timely and timeless. The water inside the bottle is timeless. All countries and civilizations have always needed water. The bottle we pour it from, however, is timely. We see brands and designs that are around today that weren’t around in ancient Egypt 4,000 years ago. So what we are pouring out to the students needs to be timeless, but it also needs to be coming from a container that is timely.

Andrew: That is fantastic. I know that there are schools that are using no technology and also schools that are fully immersed in technology. So how do you—when you’re having a conversation with a parent, teacher, or a coach—make suggestions for how to use technology?

Tim: I think that is a great question—and one that’s being asked all across the world. A phrase that I’ve bought into is, “Technology is meant to be a guide, not a god.” For some kids, technology is a god and it is controlling their life. But when it is used as a guide that means we harness and leverage it to take us somewhere that we need to go.

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Why We Need to Embrace the Ancient Future: Podcast #34