While perusing the headlines each morning, I am reminded the world is a mess: Global warming, outbreaks of war, murder, rape, corruption, disease, and kidnappings. Government officials everywhere become entrenched in scandal after scandal. Social problems seep into every crevice of every culture. No one is immune. No one can escape. And everywhere I go, people bemoan the shitty state of affairs. The world seems to be coming apart at the seams and many have lost hope.
Yet, while heaving another sigh, old fashioned newspaper in hand, a tinge of inspiration surges through me like a lightning rod. Dare I say full-blown optimism even.
Now is the time, a little voice cries out from the recesses of my mind. Now is the time to change the world, and make a positive impact.
There is so much to do, so many causes to champion -- so many ways one can truly add value, contribute and make a difference. I glance over at my five children -- innocent and hopeful, eyes full of curiosity and wonder -- as they behold this glorious world and still dream of becoming whatever it is they want to be. I know the future is in their hands. I also know that as their mother, aka, their biggest influencer and mentor, I've got to lead the way. I've got to take action.
As a parent responsible for churning out five contributing members of society, the message I strive to impart upon my own kids and all others whose lives I touch is this:
You are growing up at a time of great chaos. Repercussions of many decisions made long ago have come back to haunt us, and as a global society, we are paying the price. But, within this great, big upheaval lies tremendous opportunity for you to latch onto something that makes sense to you, something that speaks to your heart and becomes your burning desire. Much of the world's problems are indeed fixable.
Develop your unique and quirky gifts, find your purpose, focus, and champion your cause. Be conscientious citizens that work hard to make the planet clean, livable and peaceful for your future children and grandchildren. As a mom, I can't tell you what's most important because it's all critical. All I can say is that the time is now to act.
No matter what my kids choose to endeavor, I will be right there, by their side, to support them and work alongside them. For I too, even in my fourth decade, am energized and feel the call of duty. And in this mom's humble opinion, there is no greater gift I can give to my children than an opportunity to see the world through their own experiences -- experiences that'll evoke deep compassion, help them realign their priorities, forge new alliances, and broaden their perspectives.
Thus, empowered to guide my own children and those I work with weekly, another mom, educator and dear friend of mine are launching GIVE, Global Initiatives in Volunteer Education. We want to create safe and meaningful opportunities for kids like ours to venture out into the world, and take part in sustainable work in the developing countries where they'll come to understand other people's values as well as their own, learn leadership and life skills, and hopefully, return home better-equipped to making a lasting contribution to their respective communities and world at-large.
As an incurable optimist, I do believe that if we're willing to raise the bar, all of our kids can and will do what is expected of them to lead us into a better future.