The Generation that Forgot


The Generation that Forgot

Tonight, as I was working in the yard, I was remembering my Grandpa Pinyot. Actually, it was Grandpa Pignat (pronounced the same as my last name. My mother had the Italian spelling Americanized to stop the bullying when I was in grade school… “Pig-Nat” they would say). Grandpa Pignat was an amazing man. Ernest emigrated to the United States from northern Italy when he was in his early 20s. 

Grandpa was a simple man who spoke with a very bad stutter and broken English. Life was not easy for him. He worked hard to find his way in a foreign land, speaking in a foreign tongue, and learning the foreign ways of the Land of Opportunity. As a skilled woodworking craftsman, grandpa provided for his family on a carpenter’s wage. My father followed in his footsteps. Until Uncle Eddie graduated with his Engineering degree, no one in his family had ever gone to college. 

Grandpa was so encouraging to his family. I never met another person who had kinder and more affirming things to say. He was so proud of his grandchildren. All grandpa wanted, was for us to go to college and graduate. His hard work and his example and his casting of a vision helped pave the way for not only me, but my two brothers all graduating from Pitt with Engineering degrees. Grandpa felt blessed by his life, a life that today, many would feel cursed to have. 

I was listening to Joel Osteen on the way home from work today. Many people don’t like his prosperity preaching, and usually it doesn’t appeal to me either, but in these unkind and harsh times, it does a person good to hear something positive for a change. In his preaching, he spoke of the generations of sacrifice that families suffered to get us to where we are today. Our freedoms and our prosperity were granted to us by the efforts of previous generations. Many of our grandfathers served in WWII, and for old guys like me, it’s a person even closer than a grandfather – my father-in-law served in WWII. From a financial perspective, many people, just one or two generations ago, risked all the security they had to start businesses that thrive today, mortgaging their homes and financial futures on their ingenuity and hard work. 

As a civil engineer, you can look simply to the bridges that were built to bring two sides together, to improve our lives and to tame the waters. The Brooklyn Bridge took the lives of 41 men during its 12-year construction, including the life of its visionary designer himself, John Roebling. Roebling was the first life claimed by the structure. The San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge cost 27 lives; and the Golden Gate bridge, from lessons learned on the Oakland Bay Bridge (adding netting), cost 11 lives during its completion. 

Many of our younger generation seems to be lost and following the wrong direction. 

As a guy who was debt free and on (relative) easy street after working super hard as a young man in high school and college, saving every dime I made working construction, and gaining my engineering degree and a nice sales job, I abruptly chose the path of generations before me. I took a detour off “Easy Street” and jumped on “Entrepreneur Lane”. 

Osteen, in his preaching, reminded me that we were built in the image of the King. Our actions, our deeds, our attitudes should be that of a King. When we choose to destroy others rather than lift them up, we act more like jesters than kings. We become part of the problem. In a past Marketing Minute, I showcased a small shoe store in downtown Indianapolis. This store owner served the downtown community for decades from his brick-and-mortar store. He inventoried shoes, clothing, etc. specifically for his local clientele. During the riots that our nation has had to endure, this legendary landmark in Indianapolis was destroyed by the same people it had served for generations. 

In a single generation, our nation is about to lose centuries of history, good and bad, to a single generation of activists who know nothing of the sacrifices that previous generations have endured, nor the sacrifices that today’s business owners endure daily, nor the hardships that their families have endured even within one generation. Instead of perpetuating the American way of fair and honest hard work and sacrifice for others over oneself, The Generation That Forgot will replace centuries with a narrative that is deeply flawed with supporting data that is, at best questionable, and data mined to support their narrow views. 

As we were built in the image of the King, think on that. Is the action I am about to participate in suitable for my royal blood or is my action laughable, nonsensical, and better suitable for a jester?


Article contributed by:
Jeff Pinyot
Only show results from:

Recent Articles

Send message to

    We use cookies to monitor our website and support our customers. View our Privacy Policy