“I believe the children are our future" are the opening words to the song, "The Greatest Love." The most famous and best rendition of that song is by the late Whitney Houston. Several of the young people in the emerging generation I speak with (mostly my son, nieces, nephews, and their peers), wonder whether there is a future for them, or perhaps more accurately, a worthwhile one. So, this arising group has questions.
The emerging generation is looking at the events taking place in their communities and the world around them. They wonder and question why there is such highly divisive and polarized politics at home and abroad. One youngster asked why authority figures and people in power ban, or seek to ban, books for accurately portraying United States racial history. As they witness unprecedented heat waves, devastating wildfires, or extreme flooding, others wonder why we are not taking an "all hands on deck” approach to solve the climate crisis. Still, others wonder why there is such human divisiveness due to xenophobia and racial hatred.
Interestingly, because I didn't know they took notice or cared, the youth wonder if we face an imminent threat to democracy because state legislators pass questionable and restrictive voting laws. Then throw into the mix the contentious disputes over vaccines and masks, rather than a unified approach to fend off a threat to the common good. Some youth see a chaotic and belligerent consciousness on full display. So, it's no wonder they have questions about the future.
Because I am a minister from time to time I'm asked my take of what's going on. There is no easy answer to any of the issues some of these young people raise. But we can ask and attempt to answer the question, "Is there a spiritual solution or at least a satisfactory explanation for the apparent upheaval that concerns these young people?" I believe the response is yes.
On many levels, we live in a time of accelerated change - socially, technologically, and politically. There is turbulence not only in America but globally. This change signals a significant paradigm shift afoot, and there is reason to believe we are moving from one stage of consciousness to a higher one. However, whenever we go through this process, it is not always fun and games.
Dr. H. Emilie Cady in her classic text, Lessons in Truth, referred to this process as chemicalization. Chemicalization is when there is a clash between an old idea and an emerging new idea. Sometimes external events serve as evolutionary triggers to stir things up and accelerate the manifestation of that higher state of consciousness. The evolutionary triggers wake us up from a sense of complacency, so we are motivated to move the process of evolution along a little more quickly.
When that happens, we may feel fear or be discouraged. However, we need not be fearful or discouraged. When we look at such events from a spiritual perspective, we realize they are part of a process that does not have to last forever. Something higher and better can take place. But change will not happen on the wheels of inevitability. We must intend what we want to see, and as co-creators with Spirit, we must consciously participate in the change.
We must base any lasting change on spiritual principles and ideals. Such principles are inherent in any society that strives to benefit all who are a part of it. Living from a spiritual direction requires letting go of the "winner takes all" approach. We no longer reward those who yell the loudest to garner power to mandate their agenda, regardless of how it affects others.
To move toward a consciousness that fosters the collective good, we must be ready to embrace the perennial wisdom teachings of unity, oneness, and interconnectedness. We must make this our way of being in the world. Indeed, suppose we are to address global challenges like climate change, polluted waters, and war, as well as the challenges of racism, or xenophobia, or mob rule. In that case, we must engage in dialogues that bring out mutual respect for the needs of all parties, and not just a few.
There is a great deal of hostility and divisiveness expressed in our present environment. Often, this results from needs not met, unhealed wounds, or fear. Part of the answer lies in the statement by Mahatma Gandhi, "be the change we want to see in the world." We may believe that we can't make a difference. But we can, once we see that our outer world reflects what is happening in our inner world. We can build a cooperative domestic and global society. It begins with us, and it starts right where we are. When we make this part of our awareness, the consciousness will spread.
It may sound like a pipe dream or John Lennon’s song, Imagine –something in an unreachable future. However, we have what we need to make it real. The power is within us. As more and more agree to be the change we want to see, we will not just imagine it; we will be living it. And that will help us give answers to the questions children and youth are asking.
Peace and Blessings,