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October 25, 2008

With great privilege comes great responsibility

How many of us have grown up hearing about the sacrifices of our forefathers enabling our freedoms and lifestyle.  How many of you have believed that the dream of home ownership, regular vacations, bountiful food and freedom to be and do almost anything is your birthright?  If you are anything like me, you have taken the lifestyle you and your family lead for granted. 

Over the last few months and weeks though I have thought a lot about what so many of us take for granted.  Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness are more than just words.  Being able to quench your hunger by just opening the refrigerator is not the natural state of man. Buying electronics, toys and other luxuries is not a God given right.  There really have been huge sacrifices made for us to live the life we lead.  Whether we talk about brave men and woman giving their blood so that we can live the way we live or people scrimping and saving, doing without - in the hope of a better life for their children, every generation has done what they had to. They have risen to the challenges of their day. Their only hope being that the generation who comes next will have it better than they did. 

A review of history shows that almost every generation comes to a crisis point where the life we lead and the life we want for our children is in jeopardy.  Every generation must rise up to meet this challenge.  For the most part we have been blessed that the generations who have gone before us have risen up to meet this challenge.  In every generation leaders have arisen to lead the charge, but it is up to the rank and file to overcome.  Tom Brokaw wrote about one such generation in his book "The Greatest Generation". Our grandparents and great-grandparents who suffered through the great depression and then made the world "safe for democracy". The next generation who overcame the morass of Vietnam, but eventually vanquished the threat of Communism and the Cold War. Earlier generations built an economic powerhouse that rivaled any of the great empires of antiquity. Our ingenuity and innovative culture has accelerated the pace of progress beyond anything imagined before. All of this resulting in a way of life that would seem impossible to humans just a hundred or so years ago.

Our generation has enjoyed the life that these accomplishments and sacrifices have enabled.  But I think now is the time for our generation to step up and pay back.We are at our crisis point.  Between global events with terrorism, energy and environmental issues.  Coming to grips with living on borrowed money and perhaps borrowed time.  An economy that maybe is not as fundamentally sound and strong as we have believed. A society that is too absorbed in me, to care too much about us, our problems all seem to be coming home to roost at the same time.

How we respond and face all of these challenges simultaneously will determine not only how we get by these times, but what kinds of lives our children will lead.  It is time to really show that we don't take all of our bounty for granted. We need to show that we are willing to do what we have to in order to continue and to prosper.  We as a generation have to step up, be counted, meet the challenges and continue the tradition of our forefathers. The future of our planet and species is dependent on it!

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