Kin Lane

Providing Hope For The Young People In Our Lives

I do not think I excel at being a parent. I don’t think there is one playbook to follow when raising children, and I’ve learned a lot by parenting the one child I brought into this world, as well as the ones I wasn’t responsible for spawning, but have welcomed into my life. I’ve learned a lot by being a parent, and contrasting my parenting with that of my parents, and the parents of people I grew up with. Most of the parents I grew up with were just doing the best they can with what they were given, and I don’t hold and resentment for many of the poor choices they made-—this stuff is hard. However, there is one area I do feel they could have done better in, and it is an area they are still dropping the ball in—-giving young people hope about the future.

I am very focused on helping guide my 18 year old from home into University currently, a process I am woefully unequipped for, but something I’m determined to follow through with. I’m not just focused on getting her physically into university in the fall, I’m working to make sure she is bought into the importance of investing in learning at this stage in her life. Something that if you don’t have much hope for the future, can be hard to do. There are plenty of lofty big world fears out there like climate change, as well as uniquely American ones like mass shootings, but there are just the average everyday run of the mill ones like having a home, food on the table, your health and financial stability. Many of which, when you are coming from a rural area, are skewed, distorted, and bent out of shape by the communities you grew up in, as well as by the wider media.

Amidst all of this I feel like my parents generation have severely dropped the ball on giving following generations any hope that there will be a future. Underestimating the impact their doom and gloom rhetoric will have on the younger generations. I get it, you lived through a very tumultuous time, but I’d also say that you’ve done very little to reconcile with what you’ve been through, and you spend a lot of time eating away at the hopes of younger folks, because you are perpetually afraid of what the future holds (aren’t we all), and insist on focusing on the worst case scenarios playing out (economic collapse, government authoritarianism, racial fears, etc), without any regard to what all of this does to the young people around you—-then wonder why opioid addictions are so high, suicide, and other dark by-products of hopelessness.

I understand, it is hard to be optimistic about the world around us, however it is our responsibility as the adults to try and make the world a better place for the next generation. You may be terrified of everything out there in the world, from the busy city filled with people unfamiliar to you, to the cancer causing Fukishima radiation, but your role as a parent is to be brave, and help the younger generation understand and deal with adversity, not isolate yourself, and live in perpetual fear until the world does collapse for you personally. You’ve been given a life—-do something with it. Don’t sit around and wallow in your fear. Perpetually focusing in on what might happen. Do not let your insecurities run your life, and damn sure don’t let them ruin the young people’s lives around you, even before they ever get started.

I refuse to let possible futures ruin the present one, or worse, let my worries about possible futures ruin the present, and the future of the young people in my life. It is our responsibility to provide hope for these young people. And, I’m not talking about false biblical or prophetic hope about a future that will never happen. I’m talking overcoming real fears that truly exist, showing them how to be brave by taking on the world around us and making it a better place. Not responding to fake news published by people looking to control you and keep everyone around you in their place. I feel like my parents generation can do better when it comes to providing hope for following generations, and it is something I’m going to raise the bar for my generation as well, and make sure I’m investing in the younger generation having hope, and have an opportunity to live a full, meaningful, and rewarding life.