Updated: Jul 6
Shylet Chabata | Zimbabwe
As soon as I became a parent, everything I did was measured by the thought of how will this impact my children?
Looking at the world and all the things wrong with it, it is easy to think that it is not worth it to bring more life into this world. But, to do so is all but foolish; to believe in the next generation is hope manifested. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and growing public anxiety about the climate crisis, Dr. Whyman wrote for the New York Times stating that having a baby is an act of radical hope and if you do not have children because of fear, then you have given up hope for the future.
Hoping that our tomorrow will be better than today, I believe no matter how dreadful things may seem from my skewed viewpoint, my children will be guided, protected, and led by God. So it is also an act of faith to have children and accept the gift that He has given us.
But there is no running away from the fact that the world is messed up. After the two World Wars, the end of the Cold War and Colonisation, many people thought society would reach a utopian phase where the world's problems would be fixed. We have yet to see such a world materialised. Instead, in every corner of the globe people still fight against each other and cannot seem to agree to disagree. There is no end to the suffering that ensues from the wars and injustices that result from the wars in Yemen, Syria, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Myanmar, Afghanistan, terrorists in Nigeria, Somalia and tensions between Israel and Palestine flare up again and again as the Palestinians cry for a homeland. The polarisation of society grows as left-liberals strife with the conservative right. Nationalistic tendencies rise to the top and overthrow any cooperation between nations. Regional groupings have lost their lustre as evidenced by the shock of Brexit. Racism and its effects cause unmeasurable pain to many people who are othered.
Poverty affects so much of the world’s population. Climate change has caused floods, drought, heat waves and famines on every continent. A global pandemic brought health systems to their knees and indiscriminately touched every person in some way. In the midst of people losing their lives, countries oftentimes willingly failed to cooperate with each other. The world, it appears, is ripping apart at its seams.
Even technological advances, with all of their promises, have not made utopia a reality. Social media has provided a window into the ugliness of the human condition. People bicker and call each other vile names all because of the anonymity provided by optic fibres and LCD screens. They do not consider the other person at the receiving end of their tirade as a real person with real feelings.
However, there is always hope. Today’s youth are tired of the status quo. There are many young people actively making a difference. These include well-known names such as Greta Thunberg (climate activist), Yara Shahidi (American actress and antiracism activist), Malala Yousufzai (Nobel peace prize winner and education activist), and lesser-known activists such as Nkosilathi Nyathi (Zimbabwean UNICEF climate Advocate) and Angeline Makore (Civil rights activist against child marriage), who are among thousands of young people doing the hard work of improving our planet.
These young people see the world with all its flaws, but they are not paralysed by the flaws. Instead seeing an opportunity to make things better by doing their part to improve things. I hope my own children will also be a force of good and agents of change.
For my children's sake I hope the world can become better.
For their sake, I hope the world will not be so polarised and there will not be so much hate and people will agree to disagree.
For their sake, I hope people realise that love is stronger than hate.
For their sake, I hope that the world will build more bridges and less walls.
For their sake, I hope nations will consider the human cost of war with more importance than their status on the global stage.
For their sake, I hope nations with surplus food supply will not hold nations in famine hostage with exorbitant food prices.
For their sake, I hope nations will be more willing to pay a fair price for goods sold to them, even by a poorer or less powerful country.
For their sake, I hope more powerful countries will not use their power to squeeze the less powerful countries out of their wealth but instead protect those countries from exploitation.
For their sake, I hope that countries will be able to cooperate in the face of deadly pandemics and crises such as COVID-19 and succeed in saving lives.
For their sake, I hope the world will be more equal and people will not have to migrate to get better livelihoods and can build better lives right where they are.
For their sake, I hope that young people will stand up and lead their countries to better governance and corruption becomes unacceptable.
For their sake, I hope that countries in times of disagreement will use diplomacy and talk and refrain from using guns, sabotage, and bloodshed.
For their sake, I hope that people will start making the necessary changes to preserve our environment and prevent the continuous disappearance of animal species.
For their sake, I hope that the love of nature and its wonders will outweigh the love of shiny new things such that we preserve the environment more than economic success.
For their sake, I hope big businesses will put the health of people before profit and not pollute our water, air, and soil.
For their sake, I hope that women will be respected for their contribution to society and that my daughter can walk the streets without feeling fear.
For their sake, I hope my son can live without fear of being used by connected people with political power for their selfish goals.
For their sake, I hope my son will never have to fight in a useless, needless war fuelled by the greed of corporates and men in power.
For their sake, I hope they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the quality of their character, as Martin Luther King once said.
For their sake, I hope the world will be a better place and I hope that I can teach them their responsibility in trying to effect change in the world and not stand back
Shylet is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mum. She is passionate about writing stories from an emotional and educative perspective. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org