By Craig Funston
I’m fixing to write an imaginary letter to my grandchildren in this space, probably as early as next week. And it may take a few columns to polish it off, as there are a number of issues I want to bring out in the open for them, as well as for their generation.
It would not really be an intimate missive, or else it wouldn’t find its way into a newspaper column. Rather, it’s a reflection of a culture (and its traditions, values, and security) that is on the wane. It is also a gazing into the future.
You may or may not agree with me; I am looking for neither yes-men or naysayers. I’m just flagging some persistent concerns for the next generation or two
The so-called letter would actually be a framework for discussion for all concerned parents and grandparents, for whom I will be raising concerns and giving advice for the next generation or two.
Or, you may vehemently disagree with me. And that’s fine, too: One of the hallmarks of free society is the right to disagree peacefully. It’s my column and I’ll cry if I want to (sounds like a song, doesn’t it?) I also need to write as quickly as possible, before I lose that freedom to speak my mind—ironically, one of those concerns I have for the future.
I’m hoping this is a shared vision—you know, you and me, maybe even others. Great things come from common concerns. Movements may start as private and individual, but they need momentum to become public and corporate to have any significant impact.
Part of my motivation, then, is a reaction to the trajectory of our society’s direction (ie., where are we going?), as well as a recollection of what was once a great nation. While I do not feel responsible for the colossal mistakes our leaders (and their followers) are making, I am obligated to tip my grandchildren (and their generation) off about those mistakes.
I never dreamed I would be sitting here in the brave solitude of my lonely office, bemoaning the issues that I am. And I feel the worse is yet to come: To use “trajectory” again: Just follow the pattern of slippage over the past ten years; then project the next ten years.
You see, this pell-mell direction that Canada is headed towardn raises a ton of concerns in my head. While I feel powerless to stop its moral carnage and economic fallout, the one thing I can do is warn the next generation, and the one after that, about the ramifications of faulty decision-making and loopy rationale.
Only a generation ago, absolutes were in vogue; there were two colours (black and white, instead of a rainbow of colours); things were more concrete than abstract; and facts, not feelings, were the basis of logic.
No one is suggesting that the last generation or two was flawless. Not at all. But it seems to me that there was a greater sense of ethical parameters and motivation. I feel we have lost our bearings, and with that loss, a host of other alarming issues have been created.
As we drift from our moral moorings and our economic plumb line (pick your metaphor), I see nothing but trouble down the line. Correction: I see it upon us already.
If I can at least help the next generation, and the next one after that, at least think things through, I will have succeeded in writing this note. That would be a significant step in the right direction.
I find so much is so facile to many young people these days; information is a simple click here or a flick there. They accept news and information at face value, without any research, review, or reflection. Or, they reject it out of hand, for the same reason.
Re-stated: maybe they are a little too quick to embrace or expunge, without thinking things through. No one should be a lazy thinker. And lazy thinking leads a host very serious problems.
They’re quick on the “what,” but slow on the “why.” They just don’t seem to be developing the analytical, reasoning skills that they need to face the future well.
So when moral, ethical, and spiritual issues come up, they’re at a loss as to how to respond. And there are many of these issues pummelling us every day. Sources could include social media, the mainstream media itself, high school and college-level curriculum, and let’s throw in politics, while we’re at it.
Well, I’ve ranted (sincerely, of course) long enough. The imaginary letter comes next week.