There is a joy in being alive. I want you to know this. It is up to us as people to keep that joy alive. Climate change is scary. Somehow while inventing new technologies to help our lives, we have set our Earth into a chaotic spiral, and it is easy to get lost in the warnings and panic.
The injustices we see and experience around the world can also make us lose hope in humanity. Who are these people who care only for themselves and not for the dignity of other people’s lives? Who are these people who care more about racial purity and imagined borders than friendship, love, and trust?
While I don’t pretend to have a clue about the right thing to do to stop climate change or to bring about peace on Earth, I do know that we have to try. There is satisfaction to be found in trying. There is joy in getting up and trying again after a failure. And there is peace in forgiving yourself for not knowing what you are even about half of the time.
This is how it works: Grownups do their best to keep this world running. We make mistakes. We raise children and teach them what we know, what we tried, what worked and what didn’t. Children remind grownups to try to leave the world better than we found it. When the grownups grow old, they die, and the children become the adults. They continue what was started, and they learn from our mistakes, and they in turn pass down what they have learned.
That is what there is to life. Everyone tries to make things sound more complicated, but that is what it is, and we are lucky in it. The world is ours to take care of, and we cherish it and do our best to enjoy what time we have here.
Notes & Questions to myself:
This letter was written to a child in my family in response to something she said about climate change, which I’m sure a lot of other kids (and other aged people!) are feeling right now. But how do we teach our children to learn from our mistakes? How do we teach them not to repeat our mistakes when we all learn best by making them in the first place? How do we stop people from continuing to repeat history, even histories that aren’t lost to antiquity but are easily searchable on the internet?
“Leave the world better than we found it” was a phrase that, after I’d written it, sounded like something I’d heard somewhere else or seen online. Wikiquotes attributes a similar quote “leave the world a little better than you found it” to Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the scouts movement. But I also found a quote “you will leave the world no better than you found it”, from Confessions of a Young Man by George Moore which isn’t exactly hopeful! I didn’t go digging further but suffice it to say this idea isn’t one I started. How apropos!