with Hannah Garland

  • Hannah Garland

How to raise children for an uncertain future

With everything in upheaval, it's natural to fear for our children's future. How do we raise them to face the world they'll inherit?

I hold my six month old, so helpless and innocent, and often wonder how he will face the future. Between a global pandemic, unstable political landscape, and uncertain economic times, it is only natural to feel trepidation for our children. The world they will grow up in will inevitably be different than the one we know. We should prepare, protect, and educate them, despite the unknowns. But how? No one can predict any version of the future, with its various permutations of possible outcomes. This is a burden a mind can’t carry. Instead we must work with the knowledge at our disposal and focus only on what we can control.

We do not know what economic opportunities the future will offer. We will teach our children not to worship affluence. Though money is a blessing, we will model that it is not a source of joy or meaning. We will live below our means, teaching productivity and the value of hard work. In any version of the future, hard workers will have a calling and a purpose. In less affluent times, hard work is the key to survival and in more affluent times, a strong work ethic is a rare virtue.

We don’t know how safe our children will be. We do know that we currently live in one of the safest times in history. Rather than fearing the unknown, we will instill character traits that they will need in any version of the future: resilience to weather tough times and compassion for those who are unsafe or oppressed. Our children’s knowledge and empathy won’t be limited by their own experiences. They will be aware of the circumstances of others, with a perspective broadened by history lessons.

We don't know what kinds of skills or education the future will require. Will software developers still be in high demand? Is college going to be necessary, or even feasible, for future generations? We will educate them using the information available and adapt when new information arises. Regardless of education, we do know what kinds of people the world will require in the future. We pledge to raise kind, honest, and responsible people who are creative, adaptive, and assertive. These are always marketable skills and people who possess them can succeed anywhere.

I have moments where I feel a tightness building in my chest. I swallow hard, fearful for my children and the world they’ll inherit. I can recognize that it might be harder for them. But the fear is a burden I am not meant to carry. I trust in God and believe that he sees beyond what I can see or control. I meditate on the truth in the Bible:

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." Psalm 55:22

I find peace in the fact that God is in control of the outcome. I can only do the best I can with the information I have. The rest isn’t up to me.

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