What are we leaving our children?
We have the duty to bequeath to them a world where all of mankind lives in peace and harmony with nature. As an African proverb says: “The earth is not ours, it is a treasure we hold in trust for our children and grand-children”.
I am a Christian, not in name only. I was brought up in the Protestant faith and to this day believe that there is a divine creator who made the earth and all of its inhabitants. How and why he / she / it did it I do not know. A predominant thought is: to provide a place for the sons and daughters of God to dwell in mortality and prove themselves worthy, through keeping the commandments, to return to the presence of God from whence they came.
That is good enough for me. I see the divine handiwork in all around me. And I believe that this is a temporary life that someday will become an eternal one with my creator and those who I love and are close to me.
While my creator formed myself and the rest of humankind in his image, that was it. We are not divine and all knowing and powerful. We were placed among all of the earth’s creatures to care for them and for one another.
However, there is a kicker. While the earth was created for good, evil does exist. While we were created to be good, we were given a right to choose what we do with and in our lives. Some, maybe many as there are now 7 billion of us on earth have chosen to be evil. We know the names, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and so on. But there are those names not as famous but equally as evil. They live among us and do some dastardly things to their fellow humans as well as to others of God’s creatures and creations.
Throughout the ages there have been many evil acts done. Many are still being done today. Not I am sure, what God intended for his creation, but that is what you get with free choice.
So with our free choice, what are we teaching and doing with and for our children? They are born pure and innocent. What they learn in growing up is how they are treated and what they see as examples to follow. My two year old grandson is like a sponge, picking up words and actions from all around him, especially so from my daughter and son-in-law.
What we do and say around children like him, helps to shape who they will be and how they will act. Positivity and love will almost always bring the same. That holds true for the opposite.
But we are not the only influences in their lives. So are all of the others they will come across in their lives through school, organizations and their professional careers. While we can help to guide them and provide context, what they see and learn from others we really have no control over.
“They judge me because I nurture my child, I judge them because they tell me not to.” – Mitta Xinindlu
While the world has many great things to offer, there is also a lot of bad out there. We see it almost every day through the news both locally and globally. While we were supposed to evolve as a people, there is still much hate whether it be racism or the intent to annihilate another ethnicity.
Discourse is rarely civil anymore. The idea of listening to and valuing other opinions is pretty much gone. Each side takes a stand and won’t tolerate the other’s views. Our colleges and universities which are there to teach students to listen, consider and then act allow certain views to not be heard. How then to evaluate ideas and consider what is really right or wrong? Listening to one point of view is not teaching, but indoctrination. And with that comes narrowness or even absence of thought.
And so we lie awake at night concerned about just what we are leaving to our children and our children’s children. We are supposed to live, make the world a better place and then pass it on so they can take it and make it even better. As of right now I am not so sure that is happening and is certainly not what our Creator imagined for this world.
There are things we can do to make the world a better place. Being the best humans we can be is a start. We must not let the evil drag us down.
Next, we should teach our children right from wrong. Make sure they know what is acceptable and unacceptable, what is good and what is evil. Teach them to think for themselves and not blindly believe everything others tell them. In fact, they should challenge what they hear. Good needs no defense. On the other hand there is always arguing where evil is involved. . That alone should tell you it is wrong and indefensible.
Evil needs those it rules to be subjected to it. It neither honors nor values any opinions or thoughts other than its own. It rules because people are forced abide by it not because they want to.
Next, teach them to not just go along because others are doing it. Do it because it is the right thing to do. If it makes sense, do it. If it doesn’t get as far away as you can.
Remind them that this life is temporary. There is still eternal life awaiting them. Live a good and prosperous life, but never forget eternity awaits. Good will be rewarded and evil will be punished. Make sure they know which side to be on.