A Letter to My Children From Your Loving Papa

Pattaratipa PW | Shutterstock

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Dear kids,

My generation, the Baby Boomers, have succeeded during my/our adulthood in totally screwing this country up. Sorry! The deficit is only getting larger, the cost of higher education has skyrocketed, and healthcare for all– despite being a human rights issue– still eludes us. Our military has a presence across the globe but peace has still not been reached. I vote, and I urge others to as well, yet it seems the same faces keep holding us back. Finally, it’s occurred to me that our salvation lies in you. My generation seems to have failed.

There are enough millenials that are not only smart, but humanist, people-oriented, to achieve change. Despite my generation’s obsession with our bottom-line and personal economic stratification, your generation has seemingly rejected class status as the end-all. It seems the majority of you have reached adulthood unjaded, with a giving-heart fully intact. I truly believe you all are not only capable enough to recognize the errors of your parents, but correct them. I certainly hope so.

This is a lot of pressure to put on someone wholly not to blame. It’s not your fault radical climate change and unquestioned atmospheric carbon (regardless of what our president and his “head in the sand” followers believe) buildup is threatening the stability of the planet, that an endless string of wars are being waged, nor that the American economy is built on the exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few. You were born into this. Yet, here you are: Volunteering. Pursuing higher education in the face of overwhelming debt. Defending the formerly voiceless. Giving to charity despite your own close proximity to poverty. Running for office. Living a life that says, “I know that my life isn’t all that counts. The more important lives are those that follow.” Despite your youth, you have uncovered the key to a purpose driven life: understanding that you CAN live a fun yet fruitful life, one where leaving this country and earth better than it was when you arrived is the ultimate goal.

Unfortunately, I feel that my generation has been all about us and our immediate offspring. That our care (and not universally of course) has not been focused towards the greater good. The environment, universal health care, college education for all, embracing aspiring immigrants etc., have taken a back seat to the eternal ME. It won’t happen overnight, but our world will be exceedingly better if the eternal ME, our innate desire to produce and protect our own legacies, took a backseat to the eternal US! We are, in fact, whether my peers want to admit it or not, in this together. While we might outrun the trouble with our personal wealth during our own short lives, in the end even the wealthiest amongst us will pay the price if we stay on my generation’s chosen path.

There’s a saying by Ali Bin Abi Thalib that reads: “Do not raise your children the way your parents raised you. They were born for a different time.” If, despite my parenting and the conditioning of the culture you were born into, you can put the greater good above your own gratification, you will make me prouder than I already am. And while I might not be here to thank you for your contributions to improving the world, future generations will benefit tremendously; and isn’t that what really matters? Future generations?

Love you all forever,

Papa

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