As I watch the news today sometimes it's really hard not to worry about the future. I read and hear about things like shootings, bombings, killings, wars, GMOs, cancer rates, US politics, natural disasters, and climate change (shall I go on?) and honestly sometimes I get a little scared about the world that we're leaving our kids. On the other hand I see some kids today that behave so badly, acting so entitled and self centered that I guiltily think "maybe it's what they deserve!" ;-) Partial kidding aside, it's easy to get caught up in these fears and doubts - after all it's what our culture breeds. It's also easy, when I catch myself doing that, to rise above the negativity and shift my focus to something more helpful and positive - which are conscious thoughts about what I can do today to improve the way things are now so that they may be better in the future.
I believe that encouraging and inspiring adults to do what they can to help others in the community is very important - in fact that's the cornerstone idea behind our Rising Phoenix Awards program (risingphoenixawards.org). If you've been inspired by the way somebody in SE Michigan handled difficult life changes and how they did something good for the community, please think about nominating them for a 2015 Rising Phoenix Award! The first two years of the program were rewarding and inspiring, and I'm very excited to see who shows up to join our Rising Phoenix community this year.
Maybe more importantly, I think we as parents have a huge responsibility to give our children the attention, energy, values, and tools to become healthy and peaceful adolescents - and eventually young adults. In these times of dual incomes, high stress, daycare, etc. many of our children are largely raised by other people - and that's where they often get their value sets and habits. I personally chose to design and deliver a custom Coming of Age ceremony (a type of Rite of Passage) to my help guide my son through his transition from being a boy to being a teen, and to start preparing him to be a solid young man. I'm a big believer in the power of Rites of Passage to help people effectively move through transition into new states of being, and I think our culture could be much better if these were used more regularly. I'm excited to be working on a program to make that happen - it's called Conscious Rites (consciousrites.org) - and I'm honored to be in collaboration on this with my friends at New Myth Works (newmythworks.com). Stay tuned for more as this develops!
Yes the future looks like a pretty scary place sometimes, but nothing in the future can actually hurt us today. Please join me in shifting our focus to the present moment and doing something - anything! - to make the present moment better, and have some faith that the good things we do today will make the future better.