The men whom I have seen succeed best in life
always have been cheerful and hopeful men;
who went about their business with a smile on their faces;and took the changes and chances of this mortal life like men; facing rough and smooth alike as it came. - Charles Kingsley
With all credit to my religious friends, this window of opportunity called life really has to be utilized to the best of our ability. I'm not so sure about an after-life, and to that end it is probably a pretty safe bet that we have this one chance, this one opportunity to make a difference, and we shouldn't abuse it. Our hope for the future lies in our ability to make the world a little bit better than the one we were born into. So many things to do... so little time to do it. We gotta get the lead out.
In a post cold-war world, fear finds itself with many different faces. As our world grows increasingly smaller, more and more people become agitated over the lack of hope for the future. Visions come and go, people are forced to change, adapt or suffer the consequences. My dad, a product of what may be called "the old school" has taken to this change like a pig with wings. Uncomfortable to say the least. In his professional life he was a photographer, and has done some amazing work. Two years ago he went on a trans-atlantic cruise, and as usual, took his professional camera equipment with him. His many rolls of film included. You can see where this is going. By port number 2 he had used all of his film and was left pondering what he would be able to do for the rest of his trip.
I gave my dad my old computer and printer so that he could do simple things. It sat in his office with a towel over it until I finally gave up, took it from him and left him typing happily on his electric typewriter. "Less confusing..." he says. I should also qualify this by saying that he has never owned a pair of jeans, and until the past 10 years never had a pair of sneakers either. Old school. But there is hope for the future! About a month ago he came to me and asked about buying a digital camera that he'll take on his Alaska cruise next month. We did some research (ONLINE) and I brought one in for him... in under a week. I'm not sure if he's tried it out yet, he keeps saying that he's reading the instruction manual... (help!).
Now I'm sure that somehow my kids look at me a lot like I look at my dad, and when you see how our world has changed it is truly scary the things we have to be concerned about. As I noted, we are a much smaller world, traveling at speeds that are truly terrifying. We can truly ... hold on and enjoy the ride. In all of our amazing advancements, it will be so important for us to keep important things in focus, family, friends and our own well being.
It is equally frustrating that with so much hope for our future, we still struggle with the basic humanitarian struggles that have plagued us for generations. Issues of race, education, disease and poverty still are on the front burner. Why have we not come to terms with any of it? Why have we let these issues foster in our societies for so long? What are we teaching our kids? What is important? A cell-phone, or a starving child dying of AIDS in Africa? A video game system, or a book? Have we as parents failed in our mission to create a better world for our kids?
The answers are complex and a lot more challenging than figuring out the video game HALO 3. The social issues, like racism, will not go away unless we are willing to step forward as a community and embrace them as tightly we have done with our personal technology. Wouldn't it be nice if we could solve the racism issue as easy as it is purchasing an updated blackberry? What is truly important in our society? How do we "focus" in an ADD/ADHD world?
Where is our hope for the future?