Friday, December 22, 2017

A Shortage of Hope

Let’s begin today with this quote, from a Columbia native, returning home for the holidays from his first semester in college:

How can I be expected to plan for my future when the literal apocalypse is going on?

He’s got a point there, even if the use of the word ‘literal’ is not assured in this case. And I really hope it isn’t, I hasten to add.

Any young person who is paying attention to national and world events must be feeling the onslaught of challenge that their generation is facing. While there’s nothing new about older folks making decisions that fall most heavily upon the young, right now the speed and gravity of those decisions are breathtaking.

I noticed that members of the Stop the Bleed initiative recently came to River Hill High School to teach “life-saving battlefield-injury techniques” to the ninth grade class. I’ve also noticed that the Howard County Police Department held a presentation on Safety and Security for Houses of Worship that was so well-attended that they have scheduled another one in January.

Why might students need battlefield injury techniques at school? Why are Howard Countians worried about safety and security in their places of worship? I suggest you Google “school shootings” and “church shootings”. It speaks volumes about the world in which our young people are coming of age today that these are the actions we are taking. We are standing on our heads rather than adressing the real issue.

How can I be expected to plan for my future when the literal apocalypse is going on?

Each generation find moments to reject or push back against the values and choices of their elders. I see in this generation a real fear that those choices are endangering their very existence. It’s not, “I won’t be like that when I’m their age.” It’s “will I ever even live to be their age?”

We are not immune from that in our own little Bubble of Columbia/Howard County. A recent New York Times article addresses the fears of Columbians that the newly-passed tax bill will undermine the very essence of what Columbia was meant to be. As the gap between the haves and have-nots widens, and the stress of entrenched poverty and racism takes its toll, we see young people struggling and lashing out at school. They don’t need more discipline. They need more possibility. More opportunity.

A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on. - - Carl Sandburg

It’s not enough just to make the babies. We need to work daily to be able to pass along a world that can go on.

Hopelessness is a heavy weight to carry. We should not be foisting it upon our young.

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