My assignment for one of my classes this week is to create a pledge to future generations -things that I am willing to do now to help ensure that their future exists and is better than my present. It's an exercise meant to help students focus on the overarching trends of today and examine the impact of our actions on the future. We are supposed to create a pledge of five things addressed at the future as defined by Native Americans - "the seventh generation yet unborn". What do I pledge?
At first look, this is simple. I want an end to war, hunger, hatred, poverty, and illiteracy. However, there's a catch. I must pledge five things to future generations and create a plan for how I can help make them a reality. It's a little trickier when I must personally do something. I am not wishing for the unattainable anymore. I am planning on making a difference. So, what do I pledge?
I truly do want an end to war. Since Taylor will be a Marine for years to come, this is an issue that is close to my heart. Taylor is willing to give everything to protect our freedom. I want his service to be meaningful and not about oil fields or election results or petty disputes. Countries are destroyed, families left homeless, and entire civilizations doomed by the spectre of war. Woodrow Wilson tried to insure that there would be no more wars at the end of World War I with his Fourteen Points. He called for the creation of a League of Nations to settle things peacefully, but politics got in the way. The Treaty of Versailles was created with such strict punishments on Germany that it created a situation where Hitler could come to power and led directly to WWII. Who our leaders are make a difference. I pledge to vote in every election and to campaign for politicians who want peace while keeping America strong militarily.
Hunger must be a horrible feeling. I get a headache when I haven't eaten all day and start looking around for some chocolate. I write that and am ashamed because I know that there are children today who will go to bed hungry. They haven't eaten anything today. I teach children like this. They come to school every day because they get two meals/day there free. It is summer now. Where are they getting food? I pledge to donate to food banks in my area so that there is always a supply of food available for those who do not have the means to feed themselves. This is not the long term answer. I am giving the man a fish without teaching him to fish. There has to be more that I can do here to make a difference.
Hatred starts and ends at home. My part in this one is easy. I pledge to be accepting to all. I am unworthy of the grace shown to me by my beloved Savior, so how can I hate anyone? I will work to create a climate where all around me understand that it is okay to be who you are without fear of judgement or reprisal. Theodore Roosevelt said we needed to reach a time where we are all Americans, not hyphenated Americans. He was right, but it's broader than that. We need to reach a time when we are all people - not separated by race, creed, gender, nationality,or religion. We are all different and it is okay.
I believe that poverty and illiteracy go hand-in-hand. Education is the number one weapon that the world has against poverty. I pledge to continue to work hard at providing education and educational opportunities to my students. In some countries of the world, however, women are held back based solely on their gender. They are impoverished because they do not have access to the same opportunities as men. I already combat this by supporting women around the world through Kiva.org. I sponsor $25 loans to women in devloping countries to fund their small businesses. They pay me back over time and then, I re-loan the money to another woman. It is such a small thing, but as a single female who understands that life is hard sometimes, it helps. I pledge to fund opportunities for women around the world to make the world a better place.
It's your turn now... What do you pledge?