If our moral duty is to help prepare our children to live in the future without us — how are we able to sustain that teaching without a place in that world?


We can guess at the future of the world.

We can look back on history to inform our now — but is the past enough, or is prescience required?

Isn’t it impossible to form a world we will never know and cannot understand?

22 Comments

  1. It’s a bit like planting certain trees which only blossom like 70 years after you plant them. Do you plant them for yourself or for the people who will benefit from them?

  2. Too true!
    My grandmother used to say that the first seven years of rearing determined the child’s moral life. I’m glad she did an upstanding job with me. 🙂

  3. Well, to (hopefully) answer one of your questions, I do think that the past is enough. What I mean is that because I still think back on lessons taught to me by my grandmother (though she is now no longer with us) my children and grandchildren will do the same.

  4. Hi David,
    Brilliant question and even more brilliant image!
    I think the only way to prepare our kids for the future is to make them ready for the unknown.
    The “how” of it is to empower them with basic values (integrity, perservarance, dedication etc.) as well as pros and cons of following it.
    “Walking the talk” is also good – conflict resolution, crisis management, people skill and understanding others before trying to be understood always come handy.

  5. Gordon —
    Here are some things for you to consider as you continue to mull your answer:
    1. What must we give to our children that we cannot invent for them?
    2. If we are not there for them — then who will be there?
    3. Everything is related and counter-related to everything else.
    4. You may not use, in your answer, anything I’m about to say to Katha. SMILE!

  6. I think you’re in the answer, Katha.
    I think one of the most important things we must give our children is the allowance to be imaginative, creative and other-worldly. We must encourage them to close their eyes and fly, to imagine what is not real or even proper, and to ponder the necessary invention of things none of us yet understand we need. Without the ability to imagine — to create something out of nothing — they will be doomed to just repeat what they already know and imitate the mistakes of our past.
    The next thing we need to help them understand a world we are unable to comprehend is they need to gather the right allies. They need a hard brigade of friends and protectors that will stand with them against the temptation of evil and the propagation of malicious, infecting, memes that will be set free to ruin the world we will never know —
    http://memeingful.com/2008/12/03/malicious-meme-propagating-machines.html
    — with the right friends in hand, and the correct pattern for mimetic conditioning above them, our children might have a chance in the world without us.

  7. I agree David!
    Unlearning is very important, so is the power of imagination. It’s even important for those who will prepare the future-citizens.
    Choosing/ identifying right friends is euqlly significant, sometimes it’s their friends who will save them from an inevitable trouble or will be the strongest support they will need…

  8. That’s right, Katha, and the friends must share the same moral core and community values or there will an internal bleeding that will not be stanched against the future. Instead of giving our children to the street, or the corner dime store or the playground up the block, we need to internalize them, teach them every single day, and challenge their thought process.
    A good place to start when considering consequences of action and behavior is: “What’s the worst that could happen?” Let the conversation devolve from there as the child answers and then answers again and again and again. That ongoing question teaches critical thinking, leads to problem solving and opens up the horror of what happens when one bad thing builds upon another.

  9. “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst”, David? Absolutely!
    Internalizing takes time and effort, sometimes parents do not want to spend the quality time with their kids – which I think is the most importand for a kid.

  10. In a way, we have to be there for them even though we are no longer there – and we do that by educating them well and being there for them while we are on this earth, so to speak, and not letting the television babysit them.

  11. Fantastic find, Dananjay! How did you come to first view it? Love the story. I do with the grandmother explained more about the mountain and lakes to the boy instead of just calling their movement “miracles.” He obviously wanted a more scientific answer!