The question was a sentiment I heard over the radio. It is the sentiment of parents, of families, of communities, of churches, and of good people everywhere. It is our realization that our world has been overcome with violence, with poverty, with inequality, injustice, moral degradation, deceptions, and spiritual darkness. It is the question borne of our uncertainties and our inability to change that troubled world on our own.
“What kind of a world are we leaving our children?”
This is also the sentiment-of-exploit by world leaders, leaders of nations, and leaders of communities….whose job is to convince us, as the parents, guardians, and caretakers of these children, that they have The Solutions. That they have the facilities, the programs, the infrastructure, the resources, the money, the intelligence, the people, the education and expertise, the science, the everything and everyone and every way….to provide the perfect world for our children. You, parents, can continue to work and live your lives, enjoy your retirement, your vacations, your money and your toys. Just leave it up to them. They’ll make it all better. They’ll save the children from all these “bad things”. After all, it’s all for the children. Right?
This is our world today. These are the saviors of our day. And this is the deception of our day.
But why are we so worried about the kind of world we’re leaving to our kids? Why are we so worried about the future we’re giving to our kids? Why are we concerned about the “what’s out there”, which is a future we cannot have control over, especially given the fact that we cannot control outcomes (even though many in power would like to think that they do so in finance, in software systems, and even policies and laws)? We cannot control the consequences of people’s actions (even though many in power sure try to do that through manipulated courts, corrupted lawyers and judicial practices, and compromised ethics). We cannot control people’s hearts and minds (even though they try to do that through psychology, media-induced hypnosis, and even peer pressure)?
My question is, despite how that world looks right now, where it’s headed, and how it deceptively it operates, why are we concerned about handing THAT WORLD to our kids, as if we were completely responsible for that world?
I’ve got news for you.
‘THAT WORLD‘ IS ALREADY HERE!
OUR KIDS ALREADY HAVE IT!
AND WE DIDN’T GIVE IT TO THEM!
IT WAS HERE WHEN THEY GOT HERE!
We can only make it worse, or we can improve upon it.
Our challenge as parents IS NOT: “What kind of a world am I going to give my children?”. It’s not our responsibility to “give them a future”. We don’t provide “The Future” for them, no matter how prosperous and easy we’d like it to be for them. Why are we acting like, “Here, Kids. Sit right here. I’m giving you this world…this future. It’s kinda messed up, kinda beat up, pretty ugly, and all sorts of bad. But it’s all I got for you. Happy Future!”
We don’t give a problem filled world to our kids.
Our challenge IS: “How do I raise up my child to live in such a world?” We are to raise children that they can tackle the world they live in, who will face the problems head-on. We prepare our children to live in whatever that Future is…by teaching them, right now, How To Live.
“What kind of Child am I leaving for this world?”
This is really the question we need to be asking.
Do we raise them up to be accepting of such a world? That it’s okay to deceive as long as it benefits you? That it’s okay to be uncommitted, because everyone else is that way? That it’s okay to devalue life…from making fun of others to bullying them to stepping onto them so you can climb up the social/corporate/self-glorified ladder? That it’s okay to take from someone else as long as you’re using that money to do something perceived as “good” or “socially acceptable”? That terminating any kind of life when it inconveniences you is okay? That it’s okay to lie, cheat, steal…because your leaders and other prominent people are doing it? That it’s okay to be defiant, disrespectful, distasteful, and disregarding? Am I raising a worldly follower?
Do we raise them up to be afraid of such a world? That they will always be the victim? That no one loves them, and that even you can’t change that perspective? Do we teach them to just survive, because there’s no hope for them, that they’ll always be at the bottom of the ladder, the bottom of the gene pool, that they’ll always be poor because someone will always be more privileged, be richer, be more advantaged than they are? Am I raising a Whiner, a Victim?
Do we raise them up to not care? Do we teach them to just go and have fun and play and don’t worry about all of that because that’ll just put stress on your mind and your heart? That they have better things to do than worry about things they can’t control? That the bubble they live in is all they need to be concerned with? That selfishness is really the only way to survive…because, if you’re not watching out for yourself, no one else will. Am I raising a Narcissist, an Apathetic, or even Playfully Numb and Uncaring Naivetes?
Do we raise them up to be Lights in an ever-darkening world?
* Do we teach them Courage: to face their hardest moments, despite their fears. Persistence for those times when they fail? Humility for the times they succeed?
* Do we teach them Faith in God: to trust in a God you can’t see, despite your uncertainties, and despite the jeers and mockings of those around them?
* Do we teach them to live Truthfully in a world that proclaims to promote it while masterfully spinning it with Deception?
* Do we teach them to Love purely, sincerely, generously, and warmly when others’ love have become cold, hard, and frozen?
* Do we teach them the true Truth as we understand it, and teach them how to find it…and not just believe “published Truths” from the “experts” of our day?
* Do we teach them to give freely when they have Abundance? Do we teach them to give, faithfully, when they don’t have much?
* Do we teach them how to detect Deception, how to understand when others intentionally cause misunderstandings and deceptions?
* Do we teach Life, its value, and how to elevate the troubled soul, the lonely, the outcasts, the rejecteds?
* Do we teach them to be Problem-Solvers? To be Solutions for the problems they encounter? To be Helpers, Lifters, Builders, Repairers, Preservers, Comforters, Inspirers, Protectors, Defenders, Anchors, Restorers, Forgivers, Sharers, and Carers of people?
* Do we teach them how to Preserve that which is Good, Virtuous, and full of Love?
* Do we teach them the Sanctity of Men and Women…that there are things we do not desecrate, whether their name, their reputation, their body, their creations, or anything else that comprises their value, their worth, their being?
* Do we teach them about God…that He lives, that He’s not some Great Dictator who demands the praise and obedience and compliance of men (for that is how the World interprets Him)…but that He’s a Father, our Father, and highly interested and involved in His children’s lives, striving to teach them the principles of Faith, Love, Truth, Obedience, Virtue, and many other Truths and Principles of Life through this laboratory we call Earth?
* Do we teach them that this world is just a temporary classroom, a brief phase, in our learning? All the bumps and bruises and failures and sorrows and “bad people” are there so we can learn how to get up, stand up, courage up, faith up, and especially look “up”…because this world was designed so that hard stuff would happen to us. Why? So that we’d have a reason to work hard to overcome something.
How could we teach our children to be Lights…if our world was always Bright and Sunny and full of Rainbows?
Our Greatest Challenge
We, with our children, have the challenge of learning how to discern the Truth in a world that embraces Deception, encourages Deception, enjoys Deception, embodies deception, empowers Deception, enterprises Deception, ennobles Deception, entertains with Deception, educates with Deception, and enriches itself through Deception.
The greatest challenge for our children: To learn how to be Lights, Truth-Finders, and God-people in an ever-darkening, ever-deceiving, and God-hating, God-rejecting, God-removing World.
And our challenge as parents: Know how to be Lights, Truth-Finders, and God-people ourselves…and then, Teach our children how to do just that.
Because, in a tempest-tossed world, we need Anchors.
The LDS Lamplighter