Mann to Man

The American Condition Politically, Culturally, Economically

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Location: Williamsburg, VA, United States

Raised in rural Greenbrier Co. WV, BS Chemistry WVU, PhD Chemistry, GA Tech,Chemistry Faculty, GA Tech, 1965-1969, Dir R&D BASF Fibers 1969-1982,Sr.Exec. R&D, Burlington Industries, 1982-1986,Owner/CEO Mann Industries (formerly BASF fibers)1988-1995, CEO/Owner The Mann Group Consultants, 1987-2009, wife Carol, daughters Leigh, Susan

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Our youth may be up to the task of correcting our societal ills:
 By Michael Wilson

Owner/editor note: Many of us, seemingly most at times, view our youth, so victimized by the cultural changes that the older among us have witnessed for decades, as having "lost" the attitudes and values that we've considered essential to maintaining the America that became the greatest nation of all times. I am one who has become pessimistic that America can recover from decadence, and avoid further decline, brought on by the cultural revolution originating in the '60s. The burden of correcting the condition falls on our youth. What we see on public display gives little to no encouragement that they will meet the requirements. In this post Michael Wilson presents a positive personal experience with youth that suggests there is more justification to be optimistic than some of us believe. Mr. Wilson is a thoughtful person who is one who is more optimistic than some of us and this story supports his optimism.
Michael Wilson's Experience with youth: 
December 15, 2015
I see the same depressing news stories about today's youth that we all do, and I am as troubled as most are by them. Materialism, fascination with celebrities whose only claim to fame is the celebrity status itself, and an attachment to their electronic devices that seems to bid fair to put an end to real personal discourse. It all seems very troubling.
Well, I am hear to tell you that all is not lost. Last week I was privileged to spend two spiritually rejuvenating days at Clarke Co., VA High School. I was asked to demonstrate the blacksmith craft to the Voag, Votech, and art students. I had anticipated, at most, a few dozen participants, but I soon lost track of the count. All were pleasant, well behaved, respectful, and most were very interested. More were interested, both in numbers and percentages of those present, than I would have expected, but more importantly those who did not see my presentation as an epiphany were quiet and respectful. Most gratifying to me were the young people who juggled their classes to return, or who came back on their lunch breaks.
There is no group in the western world to whom ''face'' is more important than teenagers, and for whom public failure or embarrassment is more troubling. Despite this, many came forward to try their hands at something totally new, different, and challenging. They did this in front of their contemporaries. Their peers, rather than looking for opportunities to sharp shoot or humiliate, were supportive and encouraging. Everyone who tried succeeded in making an entry level item at the anvil, and I am not one who believes in trophies for participation. They listened, they worked hard and, because of this behavior, they succeeded. Their fellow students who watched also learned.
What I had anticipated as an opportunity to perhaps generate a bit of interest, and possibly an opportunity to find a young person or two who might want to help me in my shop in return for some training and a stipend, turned out to be a spiritually rejuvenating demonstration to me that all is far from lost in America's young. These were nice kids, and hard workers. They were not afraid to risk screwing up in front of their peers. They were smart, They were pleasant. They were respectful. So, a sincere "well done" to the administration and faculty of CCHS and their parents. These things do not happen in vacuums of sound adult involvement, after all. But most of all, a "well done and thank you" to the students who attended and participated. You made the experience a wonderful two days for this grumpy old man!


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