For the last two months, I have been employed at a child care facility. When I applied, I assumed the job would be easy. My past experiences with baby sitting and caring for children led me to believe that this job would be a breeze; what I didn't know was that the kids I would be caring for were not my cousins, or my nephews, or a child of a family friend. These were children I had never known and who had never known me. There was no immediate connection, nothing to tell them that they could trust me, nothing that made them comfortable with me. It took awhile, but after establishing relationships with my students and other children in the facility, I now absolutely adore my job and the children that come with it.
But as I work, as I talk to these incredible smart, intelligent, brilliant children, I feel awful for the things happening in the world that they aren't aware of: terrorism, racism, hatred, and every other issue plaguing this earth. Though there are ways our society works and functions, it worries me that by the time these children, our nieces, nephews, cousins, daughters, and sons grow up, the decisions we make will unfortunately make life and society even harder. The future isn't ours; in fact, it's the furthest thing away from us. The only thing that belongs to us is the present and the responsibility to make the future a better place.
The best thing we can do for our children and future people is to exercise our moral, political, and natural rights such as voting people in office to create change; beginning conversations about racism, sexism, and xenophobia, and actually doing something. However, as I have listened to and examined my students and other children in the facility, I found out the greatest gift we can give to them is influence. Day after day I hear my students talk about their heroes, some fictional and some real, and it impresses me that they are able to apply what they learn from their influences, good and bad, to life.
So again I say, the future isn't ours; even the notion it is is pretentious. Instead, do something each and every single day to influence a child in the correct way. Smile, take them to a park, to see a movie. Anything to let them know and understand that we as adults know and understand that this world will be theirs. It is my hope when we hand this world over that they receive it in a better condition than it was when we inherited it. Love children, educate them, and watch them change the world one child at a time.