Do you believe we’re all interconnected?

One of my strengths is “Connectedness” from the Strengthsfinder.

This weekend, I grappled with “Why do I do the Niteo Africa work?”  Why do I serve children I’ll never really know and those who are so far away I could easily forget them?  Why has our family given time, effort, resources, and commitment to this Charity, when it seems that the needs close to home beat on my heart the way my grandma used to punch down rising dough?

I believe we are all connected.

In fact, our globalized world is accelerating in its interconnectedness.  And, it is changing.

Elohim Child Development Centre distributes books

Elohim Child Development Centre distributes books

The ‘Kaos’ Impacts Me

The suffering and lack of opportunity I experience in Sub-Saharan Africa impacts me, my children, our children.

Thomas L. Friedman, in his book, Thank you for Being Late, agrees when he writes about globalization and what is under control versus ‘kaos.’  He confesses with candour and humility, after an international career as a journalist, that ‘kaos’ is a ‘wicked problem.’  And, trust me, I’ve tasted the wickedness and ached to stir up hope.

You see, billions of people are living in ‘kaos.’  For example,  “globally, 1 in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum.  If this were the population of a country…it would be the world, twenty-fourth biggest.”  People in ‘kaos’ become more impactful when they turn into ‘political breakers’ who want to bring down governments by imposing religious or ideological tyranny, even though they lack governing abilities.

While Friedman doesn’t advocate ‘aid,’ he does advocate what he calls trampolines (i.e. literacy initiatives) to help springboard people out of poverty.  Eventually, that lessens the pressure of the ‘kaos,’ reducing desperate families, migrant movement, and extremist violence.

One of Friedman’s more poignant recommendations is to educate girls and give them ubiquitous access to birth control.  He advocates for this political stance because the rapid growth of our worldwide population is almost exclusively in regions and countries of ‘kaos.’  For example, half of the world’s population growth is expected to be in nine countries:  India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, United Republic of Tanzania, USA, Indonesia, and Uganda.  We’re talking about a planet with 9.7 billion people by 2050.  While many countries aren’t ready for this type of initiative, the women’s movement around the world is essential to reducing the ‘kaos’ we find worldwide.

What Matters Most

Why does this matter for those of us raising children and working in K-12 education?

Here are some of my brief thoughts and I’m sure you have some of your own:

  • We have to prepare students to take on ‘wicked’ problems in the future.
  • We have to attune and be thoughtful about how to contribute to the global problems in front of us.
  • Be the change.  Modelling how to connect cross-culturally and internationally in the flow and exchange of goodwill changes things.
  • Isolationism, despite current nationalistic and populist politics, won’t work in the long term.  We are far too interconnected to go back.
  • Girls and women must play a different kind of role in the future.
  • We must be relentlessly entrepreneurial to create a hopeful future.

Hope Now, Hope Always

Do you have heart palpitations yet?  Of course, we’re seeing a rise in anxiety, the world is facing uncertain times.  While I realize some of our Age of Acceleration discussion in this “Rooted” blog series might seem somewhat disheartening, if not altogether depressing, I want to stir up hope.

This week, I stood before my school community of about 235 students and reminded them, “Hope Now, Hope Always” (Psalm 131).  Let’s be rooted in hope.  While the problems are wicked, we are the most adaptable creatures on the face of the planet.  We’ve been overcoming overwhelming challenges for millennia.  And, we have our faith to remind us that “love conquers all.”

Our children don’t need our fear, they need our love, attunement, and engagement.  We are responsible to cultivate the conditions where children can realize their potential and face tomorrow with confidence, maturity, and wisdom.

Confidence comes from the hope that flows among us.

For the sake of the children,