It’s 2019: The day and age where we likely know multiple people in our generation who are purposely refraining from having children.
Between the financial expenses it takes to raise and feed a child, to the myriad of concerns that we have for our children’s futures, there seems to be a more reason than not as to why we should not expand our families: Why we should not carry on our legacies.
You see, before speaking with any generation before me about this topic, I hadn’t realized that our parents also had their economical concerns. I have read the history notes. I have spoken to my parents and grandparents. Yet it did not truly hit me until I had become a mother myself: To experience a fear that I’d never truly felt.
No matter what in what day or age parents welcome their children, there is always a monumental crisis to brave that will instill fear into our lives.
Every generation faces its challenges. In the ‘50’s there was an immense fear of the atom bomb. In the ‘70’s there was a major gas shortage. In the ‘80’s, a major nuclear disaster. In the 90’s there had been news regarding acid rain, nuclear waste, and all of their ill effects. And now? Well, we’re seeing a global shift on how we perceive our environment’s future; if there is a future at all.
Between the shifts we’ve seen in political uprisings and the clear effects of global warming broadcasted on every screen, there is evident fear that has been projected onto our hearts and minds.
Of course we are scared. And of course we should be. And of course we must do what it takes to fix our wrongs. But like generations before us, we will make mistakes in the process, which leaves our children to correct.
I am only suggesting here that your concerns are valid. Regardless, globally many of us are doing our best to pick up those pieces for the sake of our children.
There’s a collective pain circulating the planet. We each feel it. We each see it. So we must go on, doing what most of us believe we should do in order to ease the pain and worry for our children. For the next generation.
Along the lines of what my daughter’s Spiderman doll repeats on demand, “With knowledge comes power. And with power, responsibility.” And with responsibility, anxiety. So how can we live each day knowing the end may be near? How can we raise our children in a world that fixates on such hate and inhumanity?
I can understand those who are frightened by bringing children into such a world. But if we can’t fix it, who will?
Our world is seeing the repercussions of the toxicity we as humans have fed it. There are many rulers out there who do not care for anything else but financial gain; their greed, their selfish, self-serving needs and complete disregard for humanity- disregard for our children. These are just the facts of life.
But must we accept this fate?
We are seeing our destiny unfold before our very eyes, but can we change it? Some environmentalists proclaim that we have just over a decade to reverse the negative effects that we’ve placed on the environment. Others believe we’ve already done the damage.
Regardless of how you perceive the news, the statistics, the professional advisories, we are in for change. A big, possibly sudden, change. And we may have been ignoring these signs all along.
But one thing has never changed: the worry we hold for our children and the hope that they grow to learn and fix our mistakes. But the reality is, they will make and find their own.
Whether we are able to consider our carbon footprints in nearly every step we make or cut down our daily waste that takes years upon years to decompose, I am here with confidence to reassure you that there will be something ‘new’ for every generation.
Our lives are formed upon fear. Our very future. That is what allows us to alter our way of life, our way of thinking, whether for the bad or the good. If we were not fearful of our children’s future, we wouldn’t be composting our produce. We wouldn’t be purchasing rain barrels or carpooling. We wouldn’t be investing in companies that put emphasis on producing new items with recycled goods.
We do not change for the sake of change. We do not fear without confronting it.
Our knowledge is fluid. We are more aware, in my humble opinion, than any other generation that has come before us. But we do not suffer more or less fear.
Never forget that you, as parent, are not alone. Don’t forget that your mother, your father, your grandparent, and every generation before them had concerns for their children too. Open up the conversation with them when you can, to discuss your fears and how you’re confronting them. Find safety in each other’s thoughts.
Globally, we must take personal measures to ensure that the generations that follow will live with a happy and healthy environment. There is no doubt in my mind that we will be able to find beauty through this fear, whether we succeed in repairing our damage or not.
It is not our time to give up. It is our time to fight.
We must show our children that we will not falter in the face of fear. That we must be courageous if we are to make change for the better. If we are to teach our children how to confront their fears in the future.
No matter where we are headed, we must never give up. We must never be alone. Together we can find safety in awareness that we are a community. A global community. A community that cares for each other’s children and for each other’s fears.
Words by Julian Jamie