Imagine taking a sidewalk stroll after a long day. A cool early evening breeze relaxes you allowing your mind to focus on nothing much at all.
You come upon a crosswalk where the light has just turned green. As you are about to cross you notice on your right a procession of preschool children led by their teaching all holding hands. Dressed in yellow smocks and blue baseball caps, the first in line is nearing the other side of the street with the rest forming a gauntlet spanning the length of the crosswalk.
Watching for a moment you note how law abiding and polite they are. Then in the periphery of your vision just past the gauntlet you see a car careening out of control towards the crosswalk. You have two choices, cut through the line of children pushing them out of the way opening a space wide enough for the car to speed through. The only catch, you would get hit in the process resulting in your death. Or you do nothing using the gauntlet to protect you as the car careens into the line of children giving you just enough time to get yourself out of the way, but resulting in the death of the children.
What do you do?
There is a line from a Fontaines D.C. song titled “A Heroes Death” that goes like this, “Give the kid more than what you got in your day.” As a father in his 50s raising an eleven year old, I am in a place in life in which I am reflecting on all the incredible experiences and opportunities given by my parents. And I now see how these experiences helped shape my life. Like the line from the lyrics, I want to give my son more than what I got in my day. Not only with experiences, money and other things he may need to have a fighting chance, but more importantly a world in which to fight in.
Spending time these days watching a TV show Tiny World with my son about the connectivity and symbiosis of nature from the viewpoint of small creatures, I realize humans are so disconnected from this reality. Besides an enjoyable program, I have made this regular viewing with him so that he too can realize the connection to nature and make informed decisions now and later in life about how not to harm the earth.
Back to that gauntlet.
Would you rather live at the cost of the death of children or die sparing their life? Posing this question again in a different manner my hope is to get you to move beyond the horror of the experience and begin to think about the deeper implications.
Now substitute the accident with what we are doing to the earth. Right now, the older generations are pretty much moving out the way to spare their own lives, rather than doing what is necessary for future generations. There is a lack of willingness to die to the old way of life which is necessary if we are to deal with what we are doing to the earth.
Reflecting on the sacrifices and choices I have made, there are so many things I no longer do causing harm. I have died to the old life for the sacrifice of future generations. And yet there is so much more to do.
The car, while careening out of control at-the-moment, has not hit the gauntlet. There’s still time, but not much.