I think we are all working on being more “responsible. We are recycling, buying less “stuff”, and so on. I think of how things were when we were growing up, and how things are now. How much more self-aware and socially aware the current generation of children are compared to my generation (generation y) – but maybe there is a lot more hypocrisy in the current generation too. Preaching strongly about one thing they are passionate about, while not even being aware of the 3 dozen things they are doing that are equally “bad.” So it becomes a difficult thing to raise a child who has their head fully wrapped around the issues they are concerned about. I can tell you we in my generation were not encouraged to ask a lot of questions about social or environmental issues.
For example, I remember learning at a very young age that we should cut apart the plastic rings that a 6-pack of soda come in, so that when it gets to the ocean, the fish will not get stuck in them. Never once did we ask about why they are going to get to ocean to begin with. There are other examples like this that pop into my mind occasionally, too, and it just makes me think about things.
Today on facebook I came across a video of a young girl giving a talk at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. We are about the same age, so I would have been her age when she was giving this talk – it’s amazing to think about the points she was making at that time, when I consider what I was thinking about at that time. She calls for the members of the summit to pull together, to quit being hypocrites, and to solve some of the problems that are present, and uses some vivid examples and imagery in the process.
The video is amazing for being from 1992, and it also would have some power if given by a young teenager now. That is actually kind of sad, because it shows how far we haven’t gotten in solving these problems with the environment. But it goes a lot further than the environment, I think. It can apply to how we as a global community deal with poverty, health, and other issues that we all share. I guess the problem could be that we still have an “old fashioned” way of looking at governments, but the boundaries of countries, and the responsibilities of their governments, are getting blurrier and blurrier every year that goes by.
My wife and I as parents are really trying to make sure the little guy grows up with an awareness of the world around him. To me that also involves understanding he can make a difference and contribute to a positive change that he wants to see. And fortunately, being involved in such a way will not only be seen as something you “can do,” but it seems like it will kind of be expected socially.
It will not be an easy road to walk down with him, because we risk raising someone who is judgemental and close-minded to other ways of doing things and other ways of being – basically lacking flexible thinking or subjectivity. But if we can strike the right balance and give him a good moral compass through how we raise him, then there is a great potential that he can be a part of some of the wonderful positive movements that this next generation can bring about. 🙂