I know that my children deserve less than I got. Most likely your child does too.
This doesn’t go down easy, if like me you’re a member of the industrial growth society. Here, most of us by far want to pass on more to our children than our parents gave us.
Such is the script of progress, where more is the plotline of success. More comfort, more convenience, more mobility, more entertainment, more experiences, more activities, more money.
The paradox of more in the times we know is that it inevitably impoverishes all our children, and their children in turn.
The innocent luxuries we have come to take for granted today–juicy tomatoes in December, a quick hop on an airplane, a 23 degree home year-round–are all mortgaged on our children and theirs to come.
As a generation desperately entitled to more, we inevitably deepen our debt spiritually, materially, relationally and morally to our grandchildren. Our legacy of consumerism, of taking more than we give, is an inherited poverty from our own ancestry, one that accrues to our children and theirs to come.
Our children deserve less of this poverty.
A legacy of less consumption but also of less cultural poverty is revolutionary parenting in the industrial growth society.
If you are willing to consider this, you likely belong to a minority of the concerned. If so, you will have to prepare for the day when your child asks you, “Mom, dad, why did you give me less than you got?”
This is a hard question to answer. I doubt there are many parents who have gone before us who ever had to. Yet our children deserve both this diminishing material legacy and our sincere concern for the cultural poverty that underlies it.
Whatever our response, it must somehow be sourced from love rather than self-hatred. It must also adress our obligation to leave enough for our children’s children as our way of affirming life itself, while becoming wise to the gnawing poverty that drives the hunger for more.
And if we get it right, our children, and theirs to come, will know how deep our love ran. They will know us as the ancestors who did their best to be human, accultured, generous and greatful.