You who are not yet born, I hope that you will be a better person than I was. I hope your generation will be wiser than my generation and the generations that preceded and followed mine were. You are inheriting a complicated world that knows no moral absolutes. You are stepping out into a world that has its priorities distinctly out of alignment with any of the old teachers of wisdom. You are probably going to study alongside youth who were completely raised by the Internet and the television, and simply don’t possess anything like a moral compass. Lord knows that I hope your generation will be wiser, but I am full of doubt about this.
You will walk an earth that has twice as many people living on it as it did when I was born. You will accept that the artifacts of industrial and residential waste will cover every inch of the planet. You will unquestioningly believe that a shooting a day in a school in the U.S.A. is part of the program. You will know that your generation will be asked to fight in at least one war in a country nowhere near the U.S., and that nobody back here in America will think much about it.
You will talk to people who say they practice all of Jesus’ teachings, but they carry guns around and shoot anyone who crosses them. You will know cold-hearted souls who don’t know God, but they claim to be free of any violence because they have no religion. You will have all of the knowledge Man has ever accumulated at your fingertips, and you probably will only bother to access it when you have a test in school. You will suffer new diseases that haven’t even appeared on the planet yet, due to the increase in the number of people being intimate with each other. You will be asked to take sides on issues where people have facile answers to complex matters, but their stronger personalities will try to win you over.
Above all, you should spend as much time as you can alone to try to get in touch with your own conscience, your own direct pipeline to God. Never trade this for someone else’s, or let someone else believe that you can’t possess such a thing. Don’t allow one spiritual teacher or one worldly teacher do all of your thinking for you. Just because someone seems to be unassailable doesn’t mean they are right or even morally correct in their ways. Try to learn from almost everyone you meet, because most people do have valid experiences and opinions–just don’t ever accept any single set of opinions wholeheartedly, even if you don’t have a ready and quick response to refute what they are saying.
Just because the majority of people accept something as being morally correct doesn’t make it moral. Women are not better or smarter than men, and men are not smarter or better than women. The same goes with the young and the old, the black and the white, the Asians and the descendants of Europeans and Africans. The college educated and those who don’t finish high school, the city dwellers vs. the country dwellers, and so on–don’t get caught up in anyone’s trap where they think the group they belong to either by birth or by choosing is the better, smarter group. People who’ve fallen into that trap have minds that are shut tighter than any steel trap known to man.
Arguments that do not resolve a problem or produce a workable solution are to always be avoided. People who offer criticism without solutions need to be ignored immediately.
Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking you will live forever, either. You are only here for a short while, and the first decade of your adolescence and early adulthood will determine where and how you end up living when you’re 35 and can’t break away so easily. Whatever you do, don’t let some random group of people who seem to be authentic, cool and hip, keep you stuck in a place and make you feel guilty if you abandon them and cease being their friend. If you determine that such a group is unhealthy or counterproductive to you growing as a person, then walk away from them immediately before you’ve wasted so many years being unhappy and feeling stuck.
You can freely ignore my advice if you think you have it all figured out, and all of this is so obvious, but don’t keep that attitude all the time toward everyone. Find people who do seem to have things figured out that you don’t, and they are people who you are willing to stop and listen to.