When a woman and a man have a child they are transformed into a mother and a father. This is one of the universal laws of nature. We can see reflections of it in many other species. Many a time parents describe the birth of their child as a miracle and in a very real sense it is just that. The child brings hope and meaning. It is not an exaggeration to state that infants, children and young people are society’s most treasured members.
I would hope that the vast majority of adults in the world see young people as the embodiment of our collective future. I also hope that we can all agree that the guardianship, health, protection, governance and upbringing of children is specifically the primary duty of parents, and in a more general sense of the whole community. Governments should have policies that reflect the parents’ concern for the wellbeing of their children as it is parents who vote in politicians. Politicians should however never assume the rights over children, thus running roughshod over the sacred rights of parents as bestowed by nature. Parents are the true guardians of children. This is natural law.
It is not by any means clear what is meant when we use the words hope and future. One man’s hope can be another’s dread. What one woman would consider a desirable future, another might see as a trap. We should therefore tread carefully as the future we hope for may not be immune from unintended consequences. Cautious discernment should be exercised with regards to hope for preferred future outcomes as life is impermanent and time is precious. In particular we should not rationally expect the future to be different if we do not change what we think or do.
In order to appreciate which futures are possible it is important to see that every expression of human life, but not only human life, on this Earth is the manifestation of order that arises from a large reservoir of potential, which one might also call chaos. The order that I speak of, for example, is that human life needs to be predictable such that we are all born and live following the natural biological and evolutionary pathways, within supporting communities and an environment expressing behaviour patterns that repeat themselves or are at least cyclical with minor variations. If we are not able to broadly anticipate today what our tomorrows may be, based on the past and our imagination as to what might emerge in the future, then as a species we would be a handful of generations away from extinction. We should not glorify disruption for its own sake. We share the Earth with many trillions of other life forms within ecosystems that exist because of collaboration and where, except for human behaviour, conflict is in balance and kept to a minimum.
Humanity has ignored for millennia these fundamental principles, amongst others, that uphold life on Earth, causing a progressive degradation of value-based societal norms. As a consequence of this our young people are born into an amoral and therefore dangerous society. Not enough parents today appreciate the perils facing young life, living as they do with a technology-induced false sense of security. This safety delusion is exacerbated by an insufficient ability to think logically or analytically. Moreover, adults in a community who are too distracted to acknowledge and trust their own sense perceptions, cannot possibly protect their young against real and present danger.
In my own rendering of poet Alexander Pope’s well known verse “To err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine”, I would say “To err is Human; to Persist, Stupid.” Let us therefore stop indulging in stupidity.
Rather, we should imagine a future forged out of collaboration and debate, the sovereignty of nations and individuals, the honouring of traditions and of our ancestors, living in harmony with all other species. A future in which we feel accountable to a higher moral order and where parents stand informed and strong in the protection of their children. This is the vision we should share with all young people in order to empower them to create a future we can all hope for.
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This article was published on the Senior Times of the Times of Malta on the 30th April 2023