A common fear expressed by many over the past few years, and increasingly since the 2020 general election, is concern for the future of children or grandchildren and the world in which they will have to live. You see it on social media, in comment sections and discussions around the dinner table. For those of us who work in media, it is a frequent topic of email from our audience. Months of riots, shocking destruction of public and private property and the breakdown of basic civic order in many cities has a lot of Americans questioning if the foundations of our nation will even be in place in the near future, much less what lies beyond for young people and those not yet born.
Everything is going to be OK, though. As believers, we have the confidence that our children and grandchildren, just like every other generation, are born for the time in which they live. Our duty is to ensure they have all the tools, knowledge and solid foundation they need to meet the challenges they will face.
When we read history, we focus on studying those people and generations who faced great national traumas and overcame their trials. Just in our own nation's relatively short history there have been dark and frightening eras through which our ancestors had to struggle. The American War for Independence, the War Between the States, the Great Depression and World War II are just the biggest examples of times when previous generations faced an uncertain future and rose to the occasion. Those of us who live in the times between those national tragedies revere and celebrate the successes of those generations and people who faced their fear and overcame their challenges. It is why we dedicate monuments to people and events, and commemorate important dates. Not only as a reminder for generations too young to remember, but also to inspire those who may be called upon to do great things in the future.
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As we read accounts of the trials and victories that showed greatness in people and entire generations, we do so from the perspective of knowing how their struggle turned out. Without exception, though, they faced up to their challenge without knowing how it would end. And that is why they made history. That is why they are remembered. That is what makes them heroes.
None of us knows for certain what events are going to unfold, or in what order. There is a palpable tension in America, though, about what will happen over the next month, year and beyond. That uncertainty, combined with the unprecedented events of the past year, is fueling the fear of the unknown plaguing so many Americans today. But, whether we are ready or not, time does not pause, and we have no control over the actions of others. All we can do is the best we can do as events present themselves. If we can help our families, friends and neighbors along the way, all the better.
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Rather than be afraid or discouraged about our increasingly uncertain future, we need to see the big picture and recognize our place in time, and understand that our duty is to set the best example we can and equip young people for whatever may happen. If, as some claim, "our darkest days are ahead of us," it should be viewed as both a challenge and an opportunity to reveal greatness. Our children and grandchildren may have the chance to be the heroes future generations read about.
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