What to do?

This week I watched a two-minute video and read a ten-page magazine article that hit me like a punch to the gut and left me staggering and wondering, “What to do?”
 
The video was of the sixteen-year-old environmentalist, Greta Thunberg, who had sailed from Sweden to address the United Nations.  Her provocative and passionate speech left me feeling shamed and helpless.  Watch for yourself.  How do her words make you feel?
 
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words… Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!  You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.”  
 
The article, When the Culture War Comes for the Kids, was from George Packer. He reflected on his challenges trying to educate children about the problems in the world without transferring our ideological baggage, political anxiety and generational responsibility on them.
 
At one point he writes:
 
“We owed our children a thousand apologies. The future looked awful, and somehow we expected them to fix it. Did they really have to face this while they were still in elementary school?”
 

In reflecting on the wisdom of a 16 year-old and the uncertainty of an almost sixty year-old, I couldn’t help notice the irony of their positions.
 
One was doing while the other was questioning. There seemed to be a time when it was the job of adults to be the doers and for children to ask questions born from their uncertainty.   
 
We led by example. We modeled good behavior based on values and a common culture.  We did this, hoping they would eventually grow up to be good citizens and stewards of the world – presumably like we were.

They would learn by watching and realizing, in the words of Seth Godin, “People like us, do things like this.” 
 
The operative word in that quote is “do.” 

I must admit in my own life I do a better job talking about the world’s issues with my children than by actively addressing them in my own daily actions for them to observe. 

Leading me to realize, that if I want our children to worry less, then I need to start doing more.
 

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