I’ve had a remarkable experience this summer observing and conversing with the children at our tri-annual Gibson Family Reunion in the Black Hills of South Dakota and a subsequent gathering of families for a memorial service in Wisconsin. There were babes in arms, toddlers, and teens. Over the years, I’ve watched many of them grow up and become responsible young adults.
It’s common for oldsters to worry about the next generation. Will the world be safe in their hands? They seem so unserious and self absorbed; so unprepared to cope with the challenges ahead. I admit to these feelings from time to time. However, the “kids” are proving me wrong. They know more than I did at their age. They are bright and eager to test their wings.
Re-reading the Earth Charter, which is my habit before writing the Monday Memo, I was surprised at how much the well-being of and responsibility for children and youth are featured.
“Transmit to future generations values, traditions, and institutions that support the long-term flourishing of Earth’s human and ecological communities.”
“Honor and support the young people of our communities, enabling them to fulfill their essential role in creating sustainable societies.”
“Provide all, especially children and youth, with educational opportunities that empower them to contribute actively to sustainable development.”
The fulfillment of these principles is evident in my own grandchildren, nieces and nephews. It is evident in the kids who attend climate camp and advocate before mayors, city councils and other community leaders for a healthy environment. It is evident in the interns we work with who seek careers in sustainability.
So, to all of you reading this Memo, who have contributed as parents, grandparents, teachers and community mentors to nurturing and empowering a new generation of leaders —THANK YOU and WELL DONE!
For our children’s children,
- by John Gibson