"Children are the hope of the future." Once this phrase was an optimistic truism. But now the same words can place an unfair burden on our children.
Many commentators have observed that our current generation of political leaders and voters don’t have a vision of the earth they want their children and grandchildren to live in.
The decline in accountability and responsibility by civic authorities is noted daily in the media—unrecycled rubbish piles up in our landfill, dangerous chemicals are openly stored in light industry/residential suburbs. And despite every warning from environmental scientists to reduce the warming of our planet or risk future chaos, we persist in living for the present at the cost of fearing for the future.
This attitude is in stark contrast to those who came before us. Every day we enjoy the benefits of those who designed our cities, planted our communal gardens, developed our systems of law, healthcare, education and governance. They worked with a clear vision of what they wanted for themselves and the legacy they wanted to leave for those to come after them. Our consistently workable social and political order, our beautiful public spaces, education for everyone and all the other systems in place for planning and regulation are the products of their unified purpose and will.
This generation of political leaders and voters lacks a vision of the earth for the future.Credit:iStock
I watch my small granddaughter and am thrilled by her unadulterated pleasure in life. I don’t want her to be my "hope for the future". I want to help ensure that she inhabits a world she loves and in which she wants to live. To do this we need to nurture an active global faith that our precious planet can be improved and protected. Nations need faith in their ability to negotiate with each other and to abide by their agreements for the good of all.
As individuals, we have to catch the first drops of our negativity and despair at the state of things and squash them as unhelpful. Aggressive defence of our political opinions isn’t helpful either. We want to be the hopeful, resilient and respectful people needed for a peaceful world.
Every Sunday the gospels remind us of the faith that Jesus has in our ability to understand and follow His way to peace. We are the conduits of His concern and love for the world – deeply flawed but entrusted with this task nonetheless.
Listening to the words of Christ, it’s not impossible to picture a world in which we join together to reduce global warming and to find political, not military, solutions to our conflicts. Every Sunday we are reminded that the world of love envisioned in the gospels is worth believing in and working for.
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