We have a duty to guide the next generation

First published in Hamilton Spectator October 13, 2000

Life celebrations are so often found sandwiched between some upheaval. Over the years, I personally have physically and mentally climbed mountains. Walked beside beautiful rivers. Felt the waves rushing over me as I struggled to grab some air before another wave overtook me. Whether we like it or not, this is the unfolding process of living. I deeply believe each human being has to find that inner spark, to empower and move them on to new heights. These sparks can be ignited from outside sources that shape and mold us into the individuals that we are.

A few weeks ago, I was reminded again, how our actions can speak volumes to the future generation. I went shopping with my best friend, who just happens to be my mom. I watched as a man picked up an apple, took two bites and trashed it in the nearest waste can. I couldn't believe it. What did his action tell his kids? In the very same store, I saw a woman put a book in her bag. Break ins, stealing and the disrespect of property happens daily. I enjoy biking when I get the chance. I often see adults biking and sometimes with their kids and going right through stop signs. I stop because it is the law. Vehicles go through stop signs and even stop lights without stopping.

What are our actions saying to the next generation? Are we ships unto ourselves? Or are we modeling good behaviors, instilling good morals and spiritual values in our kids? The young people of today will be running our world tomorrow. In the light of this, I should always question if I am an agent of positive change. It is my conviction without any high tech equipment, without having a big bank account, we can govern and use our greatest untapped resource (our kids) to build and mold a healthy society for tomorrow and a future full of compassion for our fellow man. How, you might be asking. By loving, guiding, talking and honouring our kids, we will have young people who will be ready to cope with the forever changing planet. Set don'ts and dos before them, so they will know that they are loved and can in turn love. Give our kids respect, they will also in turn have respect for adults. Instill in them the value of life. Teach them to respect property of others. Teach them respect for teachers, police etc, However we as adults have to earn their respect, it goes both ways.

Our mom and dad role modelled a lifestyle that taught and guided my two brothers and me. We saw their love for each other. We saw the communicating that they were committed to. We saw their hardworking example. We felt their amazing love for us. Yes, we also felt the pain as they corrected us. We knew there were principles that were immovable. They both taught us how to stand and be proud. They set examples by how they lived. They felt failures, but they enjoyed each other and their family. Our parents were and will always be a bright shining example for our lives as adults.

Life circumstances can often be very hard on the family unit. Single parent families often are a reality these days. These families still have to find a way to instill good values in their kids.

The bible talks about living a lifestyle that is joyful, peaceful, self-controlled and filled with meekness. It talks about having faith not in this world but in God. In a real way, we are all parents to the coming generation. Our actions, what we accept, and should not accept speaks and sets the platform for young eyes and young minds. It is our job to present overflowing positive examples and circumstances. We must be tellers and doers, leading and teaching our youth today to be good adults tomorrow.

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