We live in what is starting to feel like a dark time. Despite all our wonderful technology, despite all the poverty and disease that has been eradicated, we are also seeing massive increases in racism, in violence, in political polarization. You turn on the news and you see college-educated adults who are paid to think for a living using the laziest logical fallacies and making the stupidest arguments imaginable. You turn on the news and you see the terrible deeds of terrible people, and your heart sinks.
What’s happening? How do we fix this? How do we get people to get along? How do we heal these wounds? These are questions that, at least right now, seem to defy answering. So while we work on that, perhaps we should focus on something we have a lot more influence and power over.
Frederick Douglass, who lived in dark times too—experiencing slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction and the fight for female suffrage—once said that it’s “easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” As parents, that should give us hope. We might not be able to “fix” all those people out there, but we can make a difference at home. We can’t magically imbue our clueless leaders with wisdom or convince the mob to be kind and rational, but we can teach our children to be those things. We can show them, each and everyday, how a good person ought to act. We can model the virtues the world needs more of. We can do it now, while there is still time, while they’re not yet broken men and women.
And one kid at a time, we can save the future.