Every generation has its hardships — that’s the cycle of life.  What everyone can agree on though, regardless of age, is that we are living in especially weird times, which will undoubtedly shape the generations to come.    

A friend of mine, Karen, recently sent me this “parable” of sorts called “Camels on the Horizon,” which I’ve included in its entirety below.  The gist of it is based on the following quote, the origins of which are still contested (some say it’s from Thomas Jefferson, but my research found it attributed to John Quincy Adams); a version of it goes:   

“My great-grandfather was a warrior so my grandfather could be a farmer, so that my father could be a merchant, so that I could be a scholar.”  

In other words, the work of each generation makes things better and easier for the next one (in theory).    

But what happens when we get to the generation of scholars — what comes after them?  According to this parable, the cycle starts over again.   

Dubai’s ruler, Sheik Rashid, uses a similar analogy: “My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I ride a Mercedes, my son rides a Land Rover, and my grandson is going to ride a Land Rover… but my great-grandson is going to have to ride a camel again.”   

That’s because we’re approaching hard times.  Rashid says: “Hard times create strong men, strong men create easy times.  Easy times create weak men, weak men create difficult times. Many will not understand it, but you have to raise warriors, not parasites.”

The next generations are going to have to adapt, but are they equipped to adapt?  Most days, it seems like the younger generations are the “scholars” in that they take for granted the warriors, farmers, and merchants who came before them and helped pave the way for their easy and prosperous lives.   

Plus, by the time several generations have cycled through, an empire has run its course.  The parable cites that an empire rises, peaks and falls in an average, of 240 years.  We’ve seen this happen throughout history — and the U.S. is right around that deadline.   

Does knowing that hardship and decline is likely approaching make it any easier to deal with?  Only time will tell.   

You can read the full parable below.  

Camels on the Horizon 

Interesting take on history: 

 The founder of Dubai, Sheik Rashid, was asked about the future of his country, and he replied, “My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I ride a Mercedes, my son rides a Land Rover, and my grandson is going to ride a Land Rover… but my great-grandson is going to have to ride a camel again.   

“Why is that?” he was asked.  And his reply was, “Hard times create strong men, strong men create easy times.  Easy times create weak men, weak men create difficult times.  Many will not understand it, but you have to raise warriors, not parasites.” 

And add to that the historical reality that all great empires… the Persians, the Trojans, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, and in later years, the British… all rose and perished within 240 years. 

They were not conquered by external enemies; they rotted from within. 

America has now passed that 240-year mark, and the rot is starting to be visible and is accelerating.  We are past the Mercedes and Land Rover years… the camels are on the horizon. 

The Greatest Generation consisted of 18-year-old kids storming the beaches at Normandy.  And now, two generations later, some 18-year-old kids want to hide in safe rooms when they hear words that hurt their feelings. 

They also want free stuff from the government because they think they are entitled to it. 

The  ”camels are on the horizon”  for sure…