Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions, Part 8

Landismom had a great question: "What's your most dearly-held dream for your children?"

Short, lazy answer: happiness and good health.

But that's so boring, and doesn't really encompass all that I hope for. While I was mulling this question over, I remembered a post that Andrea had written on her new blog, Decomposition. In the context of explaining why she set herself a New Year's goal of contributing a certain percentage of her income to charitable causes, she wrote the following beautiful passage. It perfectly describes the world I want for my children:

I want a world where people actually prosper or fail depending on their own efforts, and not their class position, race, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation, etc. I want a world in which housing and food are considered basic human rights, and not commodities or luxury goods. I want a world in which a handful of people can't amass fantastic wealth for themselves by depriving millions of others of the basic necessities of life. I want a world in which our natural human environment is valued for its innate characteristics, and not just as a profit-generator; a world where we truly believe that we are just a part of nature, not above it or outside of it. I want a world where human variation is valued and celebrated, not derided, ignored, punished or "tolerated." And while I'm giving free-reign to my inner idealist, I'd also like a world where some people (police, armies) are not entitled to kill others in order to maintain a status quo that is innately harmful to human dignity, the environment, and the basic comfort of the vast majority of the species.

The world we currently have is so far removed from this ideal that the thought of launching my children into it makes me profoundly sad. I want Jeff and I to do whatever we can to make this dream a reality. And I want our kids to work toward that goal, too. Even though, along the way, we will have to confront the many, many ways in which we are complicit in the status quo. I hope we're up to the task -- Sean and Allie, and all children, deserve so much better.