This article originally appeared in JUSTWords Volume 22, Number 2, written by Cathy Becker. Cathy is a Springfield Dominican associate, a member of the JUST Words editorial board, and youth minister at St. Agnes Parish, Springfield, Ill.
Just days before the massacre of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, the JUST Words Editorial Board invited young people ages 9-18 to tell us how they can bring hope to the world. The day of the shooting it suddenly felt to me, a mom to a 13-year-old, that it was hypocritical to ask the next generation to provide hope for the future when my generation has systemically denied that future to so many of their peers. Our nation’s inability to stop the sale of weapons that kill children, to reign-in the use of fossil fuels and plastics that contribute to irreversible climate change, our inability to let go of the blinders of partisanship, and our often-selfish responses to the pandemic all mitigate against hope.
Nevertheless, in their usual style, our young people rose to the challenge. Their responses centered on the essential, the only things they can control: their agency for kindness, compassion, and care of creation. Reading the dreams of our children should be the gauge for our future actions. Their hopes are a perfect litmus test for our decisions regarding a future in which God’s dream for the world comes to fulfillment.