How to Measure Change

“You measure change, not by behaviors altered in the first generation, but by what the next generation takes as a given.”

This was my most re-twittered twitter for the day. The sentence was given to me, not by a presenter, but by participant Brad Sargent (futuristguy) who is actually paraphrasing Helen Haste. I edited it further into Twitter length. Nice to hang with you, Brad!


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Rog Blogger says:

    Should we apply and see the impact of this remarkable thought on a macro or a micro level? Specifically as applied to a family and its generations (at the micro level), I see so much sibling variation of what “stuck” and what didn’t. But if you apply it to a macro level (which is I am sure the intent), then I can really see it.

  • sonja says:

    That Brad … he’s always got a good word! Please give him my best.

  • becky says:

    Rog – I see the application in both instances though I do think that familial patterns often can’t be broken without outside intervention. For example, I just saw the movie “Precious” at the press screening for NY Film Festival yesterday. In that film the lead character made a choice to break a horrible cycle of violence – hopefully within a few generations, her descendants will take growing up in a secure, safe home with access to good schools as a given. But this act that only happened when others got involved. While the church didn’t play a role here, we can be one of those transformative change agents.

  • Yo Andrew, good to spend time with you at The Feast!
    Hey, that paraphrase got a lotta buzz, and the full quote is even better. In case people are interested in the quote I use about generations and change, and the original source, here it is:
    “In the long run, what counts is how the next generation thinks. How far new ideas permeate culture is not measured just by attitude change during one generation, but by what is taken for granted in the next.” ~ Helen Haste, page 149 in *The Sexual Metaphor: Men, Women, and the Thinking that Makes the Difference* (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994, ISBN 0-674-80282-9)
    If readers are interested in seeing how I used this quote in the context of church transitions, they can check out my post from June 2008 on Paradigm Transition: Do we have just 25 years to do this? I suggest that non-missional churches may have a remaining shelf-life of less than 25 years …
    Cheers – and looking forward to next event where we can spend some time together.

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