We want you to study. Let them strive. May they be brusque. But then it is not very clear whether what we expect of them, as people, matches what our children have at their disposal for their growth. And that's where everything gets complicated.
They go to school, it's true. But, alongside regular school, which they attend every day – where a lot goes on as if, in the way they learn, in the people who teach them or in the way they are evaluated, they lived in the 19th century – our children attend a virtual school, certainly more powerful in the data it brings them, where the “teachers” that come to them through Google, YouTube or Facebook are often their age and more “boçais”, more exhibitionist and more “manic” than we would ever allow them to be.
We educate them for "the values" (of humanism); it is true. But together, they grow up in an economy where people (other than as “consumers”) don't seem to be the most important. And where individualism, selfishness, bad manners, “living in the present”, “save yourself if you can” and “making a lot of money, very quickly” prevail over other values. And where the prospects for smarter and freer growth (and prosperous and relaxed) are a long way from what we want. Especially when the prevalence of markets and information technologies over states seems to allow them to grow in a world that is “quarantining” human rights, intelligence and individual freedoms.
We expect you to be patient, persistent and persevering, when building your future; it is true. But they live on a planet whose point of environmental no-return and the end of spring seem to be 15 years away. And they inhabit a world of half-truths. Impulsive and agitated. That builds walls and discriminates against people. And where populism and hatred seem to transform us, little by little, into “refugees”.
We want them to be sensible and balanced; it is true. And let them know who they are. And to fight, with loyalty, for what they believe. But then we live, almost indifferently, with the fact that they are “followers”. To consume viral "thoughts". Or having profiles, networks and digital tracks, from 7 or 8 years old. As if lost, with our help, to the ability to discern, to choose and to think.
We expect them to believe that "the essential is invisible to our eyes"; it is true. But sometimes, we don't believe it. And then, the most common “miracles” that our children may experience are the miracles of technique. That allow them to make video calls. That give them the privilege of having countless libraries in one pocket. And that create the illusion of a world without barriers and, almost permanently, within reach. But then, the need for answers that welcome them turns them into “homeless” when they encounter our silence. With no place to take shelter to doubt, to ask or simply to believe.
Much of what we expect from our children, as people, does not match what they have at their disposal for their growth. What scares me – I recognize – is the lack of answers on our part that give meaning to your “day after tomorrow”. Let them believe in the future as a more humane and better place. How they wake up, every day, and fight, and despite all the issues they run away from, they seem to believe that we would never let them down, that's what amazes me. And it should make us even more determined, as parents. To put the questions that they intuition, above all. And to bring them answers to questions about their future that they have not yet dared to ask us.
That's why talking about a death figure walking around in the form of a new virus can help us. If that serves to rescue our children, with our help, from some of the “omnipotence” of their growth. And to help them discover humanity where it lacks them. And make it possible for them to think for themselves. And, above all, if you make them realize that, despite the world being a place with dangers, it is the fears that bind us that make us stronger.