I watched a child gathering shells, ignoring the low level ripple waves lapping her tiny feet and ankles.
She kept the complete ones, discarded the cracked ones and then replaced some of the complete ones with better specimens.
A small child’s search for the perfect shell encapsulates many things. The first is an innate need to find perfection, the ultimate shell, the one that makes all other shells shrink away, contrite and defeated. This shell, at least until another comes along is the most shapely and colourful there ever was.
The shell’s glory however lasts until a sibling snatches or smashes it and all that lingers is a memory, but what is the actual memory the young girl will keep? The moment of find/capture or the sibling’s smash that in a moment defines the fragile nature of souvenir and memories.
I believe this is a deep down reason that the increase in dementia is becoming such a concern. There are broadly two types of memory, the physical motor /muscle memory that comes from habit and practice and the one that dwells in our dementia prone brain. The latter scares us because once our memories have gone, so too have our stories and it is stories that are the backbone of human communication. Without them we live in the present tense.
In the context of Leadership, memory of processes, methods and culture can often live more in the heads of its people than on paper and even if it is properly documented i.e written somewhere, it can be ignored. When people are hard at work they don’t always have the will or the time to break away from the doing to see how they’re doing it. Therefore, if people leave, a part of the group memory disappears, the story shortens, less is known and the diminish begins. It may be known as process or method, but it’s really a Group Memory that is leaving and becomes vulnerable to change. The change ultimately could even be positive but for the people remaining, nostalgia suggests the change is a negative.
photo ref; https://www.pinterest.com/pin/554787247819390912/ Fornasetti