Our country I feel currently lives in fear of where we are headed and what future awaits our children. As an article in Time Magazine pointed out last summer, the idea of the American Dream is at stake. Is the American Dream even still attainable? What is the idea of the American Dream? What does it take to achieve? These are questions I ask my eleventh graders every year as we begin our year long literature study through our nation's history. But these are questions all Americans are asking themselves right now. We want to believe in the dream that started our country, but our economy is struggling, we're told our education system is falling behind, the credit crunch and failing housing market is making it harder and harder for people to obtain and maintain homeownership. Costs are going up and incomes are not going anywhere and that for those that have been lucky to maintain their jobs.
When I was eighteen I remember thinking how I was entering the big world of adulthood and all the hope and good things that the world out there held for my generation. Then one morning on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, that hope was marked with the reality of our vulnerability. That big world all of a sudden did not seem so safe, and this was the beginning of the hard times my generation would face. From their came the economic collapse and all of sudden the world of opportunity was suddenly not so bright. I had so many college graduate friends laid off in the last ten years. The housing market crashed and then not only was achieving the American Dream of owning a home threatened, some are struggling to hold onto the one they have. It's been a tough decade for my generation. This was not the world we imagined for ourselves when we were growing up, and the tragic morning of 12-14-12 happened. Tragedies unfortunately strike way too often but this one is definitely incredibly hard to process. For many of us we have children of our own that are close in age to those lost in the first grade classrooms on that tragic Friday. And now in an already unstable, sometimes unsettling world, our sense of security for our children in what is suppose to be one of the safest places for them has been shattered. What do we tell our children about this world we are raising them in? It is a scary place out there, but I don't believe hiding them from the world is the way to go. The violence, the hatred, the negativity, the lack of compromise- it all scares me. I want a brighter, hopeful future for my children.
Recently on yahoo, an article was posted with the annual doomsday clock analysis from world scientist. The clock is set at five to midnight, which midnight symbolically representing doomsday. What kind of hope does that give people of today? We've been at war for over a decade now. My high schoolers know very little about life before the War on Terror. This is all they've known. Just like when a team is winning and everyone is happy and when they're losing everyone is up in arms about what needs to be done to make them winners, our American society is at each other about everything from our economy, to the war overseas, to who should be in our elected positions, to who should own what guns. This is not what I envisioned for my future. America is disappointing me from our elected government to the morals of some of its people. I grew up believing this was the best place in the world to raise your children, and from working with children that still come here today to escape living situations many of us cannot even imagine, it is still one of the best places to raise your children I believe. But we are so much better than what we've been lately. America should be about the chance at incredible opportunties, not an entitlement. But the chance for those that want it and work for it.
I still believe in the promise of America and humanity. I hate the negativity that surrounds our society and world today. There are still so many great people out there doing the right things. I want a world full of hope for my children, not one bleak with how we've destroyed God's vision for humanity. I feel that this is a future we owe our children and we need to move towards that rather than focusing on all the negative in our society and all the things that show we're going nowhere. But to overcome these events-9/11, global warming threats, war on terror, economic downfal, has become my generation's journey. But the journey is not over and we can overcome and we can end this journey in a positive way and offer a new beginning for our children. And one thing I think we can all agree on is this is a future we all want to see. We just need to agree on the path of how to get there.
As for me, I still believe in the American Dream. What do I feel it is? Just opportunity. Opportunity to pursue your heart's desires, and my heart's desires are filled right here. In my home with my family and all the other wonderful people that surround us. We have our good health, our careers, the house and SUV, and the greatest part of all-love and faith. Happiness is a choice. Maybe it's time America made that it's number one choice again.
Our Nakenzi Grace
Nathan and I: 03/11/04 Nine years Monday