The ONE Lesson All Children Should Learn

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Our children are the future and they should be persistently encouraged to become the change they want to see in the world.

Tomorrow is forged by what we do (or don’t do) today. After seeing Disney’s new movie, “Tomorrowland,” one of the messages that I never considered communicating to my children is how capable they are of changing their world for the better. 

Mr. Disney saw the possibility of a better future by integrating technology with the innovative minds of our youth. However unlike back in Walty’s day, the continual evolution and progression of technology nowadays is so common and accessible, that the frontiers of technology aren’t always comprehended or appreciated.

In fact, most of technology’s purpose for the layman is for superficial reasons: What can you do for me? Give me bigger and better. Make my life easier or more entertaining.

Of course there are technological ideas and concepts out there that are truly life changing and life saving (ie. advancements in the medical field).But what are we doing to change the world for the better with technology? How are we encouraging our children to brainstorm all the possibilities?

There are always individuals who preach gloom and doom, because they think converting people to believe in the reality of x-problem (the ice caps melting, the oceans being polluted, the rainforests being destroyed, etc., etc.) is what will eliminate the problem. But getting people to acknowledge the problem isn’t enough to solve the problem.It doesn’t matter how many slide shows, movies, billboards or commercials you show, you must act on “the change you want to see in the world.”

In other words,  so much time is spent pointing fingers and very little time is spent encouraging others (especially our youth) that they have the capacity to solve/manage these problems with their talents. They just need to live and think outside the box.

I think of that song by John Mayer, “Now we see everything that’s going wrong with the world and those who lead it .We just feel like we don’t have the means to rise above and beat it. So we keep on waiting on the world to change. …it’s not that we don’t care, we just know that the fight ain’t fair. So we keep waiting on the world to change.”

Aren’t we all just waiting for the world to change and for someone to change it?We all know the world is going to hell, if it hasn’t gone there already, but nobody feels compelled enough to want to do anything about it. Because we all feel like our efforts would be futile. 

You clean up one mess, and there’s 5 billion more waiting for you when you’re done. So we stand idle, because we are overwhelmed. We don’t know what else to do. With this pessimistic and defeatist attitude,  we’ve inadvertently set our children up to feel the same way. 

However, if everyone believed that  doing a little something was better than doing nothing, perhaps we finally would see some progress?

It is so easy to feel so overwhelmed by all the problems in the world. It is so easy to feel like there is no point in trying to save the world, because the world can’t be saved. It’s so easy to talk about the capital “P” problems, but it is hard to be the one that tries to solve them.It’s diffusion of responsibility. 

I’d forgotten all about the Disney messages of my youth: “You are special.” “You can make anything happen.” “Follow your dreams” and “Dreams do come true.” It seems so after-school program. And reality can easily dilute the significance and the instillment of these messages. But they are true, and they should be taught to and believed by all children.Even by us.

All children should know how capable they are at something–even if they feel like they aren’t capable of anything. It’s the heart of the American dream, right? Make something of yourself.

I want my children to know that they are capable of more than just the typical milestones. They are capable of things people assume are impossible. If they want to change the world, they can. They could. All they have to do is try, and trying is better than waiting.

Shouldn’t we all be trying to leave this world in a better condition than how it was when we arrived in it?

So to quote (and add to) the lyrics from Coldplay’s “Fix You.”

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