I’ve been thinking a lot in the last six months about children. I don’t mean in the political sense of “Let’s do it for the children,” but in the real-world sense of what it means to raise happy and emotionally healthy children who can be entrusted with the future of the human race.
It was one simple idea that started me down this trail, but it’s led to places I didn’t expect. I was listening to a historian talk about the recent world financial crisis. He made a simple off-hand remark that companies such as banks are run with an eye on the next quarter of the year when they ought to be run with an eye on the next thousand years. He moved along to various other points, but I’m not sure I heard anything after that.
I was captivated by the question of how I would live the rest of my life if my eye were on 3011 instead of 2011. What plans would I make if I were making a plan for what my family might achieve over hundreds of years instead of what I might personally achieve over a life of mere decades?
This thought experiment led me to consider what would be necessary to build a family that had long-term objectives and values that some of them would choose to pursue. It was such a revolutionary thought that it changed everything about the way I plan things. I’m not so worried now about what I can achieve in my own life. I’m much more concerned with the question of how I can lay a foundation for future generations to build on. Suddenly, it feels less as though it’s about achieving things for my own ego and much more about leaving something that can have a chance of helping to change the world for the better.
If you’re thinking in terms of future generations building on a foundation, it suddenly becomes even more important what kind of offspring you have and how you raise them. Over the past six weeks or so, I’ve written a lot about changes I see coming in the world and how we can seize opportunities to change the world in a post-statist era. But right now, I just want to talk about the matter of children.
Three things have really focused my attention even further on what it means to raise the right kind of children. I could point to a number of different influences, but I’m going to specifically mention three things that weigh on my thoughts today and have led to me thinking about the issue heavily all weekend.