This world tries to tell you there is, that there is something beautiful and right about being perpetually adventurous and reckless. There is a strange social pressure to never settle down, to never grow up, as if the dreams of adulthood could never match the dreams of children.

The world is wrong. The world wouldn’t exist without the grown-up dreams of those who came before. The world is in the poor state it is in because of the childish actions of the past and present generations. There is something to be said for maturity, responsibility, and following through on our actions.

I see so many people waiting for something to be handed to them. I talk to them every day at my job, and as I hear their voices, they sound like children who have been disappointed by their wish not coming true, children who are still holding out hope that a shiny new toy is waiting in shiny wrapping paper on the other side of the door. I made fun of them when the only one of “them” I knew was my older stepbrother, who still can’t hold down a job and is probably still expecting that call from Disney’s graphic design office, because they once sent him a shiny pamphlet.

We try to hide it, but most of us are still waiting for that shiny pamphlet that will lead us to prosperity and happiness (ever wonder why credit card offers are printed on such shiny paper?). We have the world at our fingertips, and we are provided with everything we need to change our lives, but we are still trying to “figure things out” before we start to move in any direction. I talk to potential college students all day, providing a way to get a college education while still living their “busy” lives, and providing all of the information they could possibly need online, through our website and government websites. Yet, the biggest copout I hear is “Can you just send me some information? Is there something written down that I can look at?”

Is there a shiny piece of paper that I can hold in my hands, look at for hours, and pretend that I’m doing something meaningful?

The generations before us knew what they wanted. They didn’t have so many options, so the choice was a bit more simple, but there was still a choice to be made. There were six women their age in town, and they chose one to court and to marry. There were three job choices (family trade, military, or clergy), and they chose the one that made the most sense. If there was an opportunity for more education, they took it gratefully.

Now, we have 100 choices, and we can’t make one. We are taught that the world exists for our benefit, and we are still operating under that assumption. We never reach our dreams, because we never dream grown-up dreams. We dream of saving the world, but we don’t dream of becoming a policeman or a pastor, for the most part. Thankfully, the world I speak of is mostly confined to the insular western world.

Sometimes I wonder if there isn’t more hope for the Third World than for us.

No comments: