If love, passion and empathy are the primary seasonings in the recipe to effect massive positive change in the world, then children are the main ingredient. It is often difficult or even impossible to change current beliefs of adults, so any mission to make worthwhile and lasting change must be focused on the children of the world. Children will take over as influencers and leaders – and they will be driven by whatever type of upbringing they are given.
If people care at all about saving the world and making it a better place for all, children must be the number one target. Children are the best hope for a bright future. When the majority of adults retire and pass the torch to the children of today, they will be trusting that the lessons and experiences of the children will be sufficient to make them good leaders and stewards of the Earth. At present, adults are falling short in their duty to foster the children – but there is hope.
The first step to solving any problem is recognizing that there is one. Modern life moves at a lightning-fast pace. The 24-hour news cycle and the unbreakable connection to social-media has the decked firmly stacked against children. There was a time when peer-pressure was mainly an issue at school or during some after-school activities. Today, it is constant and unrelenting. This compounds the complications that go along with being a parent.
Being a parent is the most important job in the world – it’s also the most difficult. A parent must raise a little human being and adapt to the ever-changing personality and difficulties that arise. There is no user manual for a child, as each one is unique. Parents must learn “on-the-job” and they must do it fast. Most parents do a very good job at giving the love and guidance needed to raise their children. Issues arise when there is the absence of parental guidance or where outside influences take a prominent role in directing the child.
Pressure from outside the home usually begins to increase during the teen years. This is when a child begins to stretch and push the boundaries by which they have lived all his or her life. School becomes complicated and friends become surrogate family figures. Attaining a driver’s license and the independence that comes along with it further distances the child from the home.
Most families with means are able to overcome these obstacles and maintain a safe and healthy environment for their children – but what about those children whose families are not so well-off? Parents who are struggling to make ends meet often have to work multiple jobs which takes them away from their children for too long. Compounding the difficulty, these families usually are geographically limited to low-income areas in school districts where resources are stretched far too thin to provide a sufficient surrogate. Enter the bad apples who lead these children down the dark path that will lead to the destruction of their potential.
Although it may seem as though there is no hope, the solution is very simple: society must take a stand for these children. It must be clearly stated that society – not government – must take an active interest in seeing that children, especially those in high-risk situations, are given the best opportunity to grow up to be leaders. Ordinary people who are living good lives should take an interest in helping in whatever way they can. Churches and other organizations are fighting the good fight, but they can only do so much. They are often heavily strapped for resources and manpower. This is where ordinary men and women can step up and make an impact.
It can be a difficult and overwhelming task to get involved. Most people do not know either what they can do or where to even begin. The first step is to be aware of the issues facing these children; the second is to care. Every child deserves the right to grow up in a safe neighborhood and attend a good school that provides a quality education. Providing these resources is a fundamental duty of society. Children who are given these opportunities will grow into leaders who will make both the country and the world better. This is in everyone’s best interest because the ability to live in a vacuum no longer exists. What affects one group will eventually affect all others.
There are many opportunities to help for anyone whose heart is seeking one. Several good organizations exist in the United States that take donations – both money and goods – and then redistribute them where they can be the most effective. With a few donated school books and supplies, these organizations are able to take some of the strain of financially strapped school districts and the teachers and parents in them.
The help doesn’t always have to be financial or material. In fact, for many children, there is a far greater need in their lives. Programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters are a great example of how someone’s time can change the world for a child in need. Mentoring programs, music clubs and sports leagues can also make a huge impact, especially when a child reaches the “danger-zone” age of 12 to 18. These activities, to which children of means have regular and full access, can direct a child’s energies into something fulfilling, while simultaneously keeping them sheltered from those who would steer them wrong. All it takes is a little digging on the internet for a motivated and compassionate person to find out how to get involved with these organizations.
The children of today will inherit an incredibly complex and dangerous world and it is the duty of adults to ensure they are equipped to handle and lead it. This right does not only extend to children who come from more fortunate circumstances – it belongs inalienably to every single child. Each child is precious and cannot be replaced. They will have the world they deserve – but adults will have to put forth the effort to make it happen.