BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
No, this not about a clothing store, rather, a 20-year lapse in service that seems to be almost universal, at least in Armenian communities.
It’s the period that starts with marriage and ends around empty nest syndrome, ranging from people in their twenties to fifties.
For obvious and understandable reasons, those of us in that period of life are pre-occupied with career and family commitments and issues. Consequently, they tend to drift out of active involvement in whatever their organization of choice was prior to hitting that time crunch. Often, the decreased participation is attributed to loss of interest, both by the organization and even the person her/himself, when it is nothing more than sheer lack of time and higher immediate priority obligations (job, kids, spouse). This is a loss of talent to our community, but it need not be permanent.
Unfortunately, many, if not most, people end up drifting away and being “forgotten” by their organization and peers therein. So, even when they try to return, they find themselves in a somewhat alien environment. This usually leads to tremendous loss, and is usually permanent.
I know some of the most productive workers in our community are those who are successful at “returning” to active involvement after that life stage.
Given this unavoidable reality, our organizations really should gear their approaches to members/activists such that they are not forgotten and can return easily. Such gearing could be something as basic as sending materials via electronic communications to them or as complex as having annual get-togethers directed specifically at people in this class.
Please, start including this concern in your thinking, especially if you have not yet reached the stage under discussion. The loss in experience, training time, and most of all— good will, is huge and not something we can afford.