Monday, April 28, 2014

The Children Shall Lead

“It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world.
It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”
A big part of my job is persuading people: judges to grant what I’m asking for, opposing lawyers to be reasonable, clients to get real. It spills over into daily life as I bend the ears of friends, family, colleagues and strangers, trying to sell my particular brand of The Right Way to eat, live and think.

All for a good cause, of course, to end the suffering of all beings, everywhere. Probably a smiley face should go here.

Human evolution. Leaving behind cannibalism, slavery, racism, sexism, homophobia, war, the death penalty, exploiting animals. We can give it a push, or at least, get out of the way. 

It dawned on me that I've spent quite a lot of energy trying to change opinions that were formed back when I used a slide rule. Pushing molasses uphill comes to mind.

I can relate to the inertia, as I suffer from the same opposition to change - clinging vainly to a version of the English language that's crumbling before my eyes, and I feel as helpless as my forebears who watched in dismay as “you” relentlessly replaced “thou” and “thee”.

It further dawned on me that evolution won’t come by changing the tightly held views of old people, but by encouraging the amazing hearts and minds of those who have never seen a slide rule, an eight track tape or a brick phone.

I went looking for statistics about the views of different age groups and found these:

Statistcbrain (2013): 

Age demographics of the the 8.3 million vegetarians/vegans in the USA
42.0% 18-29
40.7% 35-54
17.4% 55+

Americans opposing the death penalty
43% 18-29
38% 30-49
33% 50+

Gallup (2012):

Americans who believe same sex marriage should be valid
73% 18-29
49% 30-49
51% 50-64
39% 65+

Taking the cynical view, it could be argued the statistics mean our liberal ideas become more conservative with age, but I don't buy that.

If we encourage our children and if we seek out and nurture the child in us, I believe the human race will evolve beyond our wildest imaginings.


  1. Love your last sentence. The statistics are a bit shocking - sad, but I believe too, and it's very comforting to hear the words "beyond our wildest imaginings". - thanks David.

    1. Thanks, Susan. Thinking back, I sometimes wonder what the early abolitionists would have thought about an african-american president or what horse and buggy drivers would have thought about live color TV coverage of someone walking on the moon, and then I wonder what equally amazing wonders lie in store for us.

  2. Yes, such a good way to make it real - to believe anything is possible - to have hope. My 86 year old Dad and I have a similar conversation often. He remembers his Dad trying to get reception on his transistor radio on Bowen Island - thrilled with the miracle. Now my Dad walks out his door, takes a photo of flowers and sends it to me in less than a minute - we wonder what he would think of that.
    So maybe maybe :)

    1. :) indeed. And now you can get live radio from pretty well every station in the world on your phone with a simple app.... the mind boggles.

  3. It certainly is all in the hands of the next generation... And we've much to be hopeful for! But according to those demographics many of us had the experience of the antiquated (ideas) and the courage to embrace the new/better ones! Pioneers we are! ;)

    1. So true - grateful for the young people with young minds and the old people with young minds.


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