Watching dysfunctional Washington is profoundly, naggingly depressing, leaving one having to work hard to count our blessings, of which there are assuredly many. Typically, those blessings are related to home, hearth and health, family and friends. Against the backdrop of consistently gloomy national news, an occasional story comes along that does lift the spirits and is important to share. Often those uplifting stories have to do with kids.
One uplifting individual is just 15 years old, and Time Magazine missed the boat this year in naming Barack Obama person of the year rather than Malala Tousafzai. She was the Pakistani child shot in the head for speaking out about the need to educate girls. She is recuperating in a hospital in Birmingham, England. She wrote a blog about what is wrong with the Taliban’s ban on girls education and was awarded a National Peace Prize by the otherwise retrograde Pakistan government. At a UNESCO event, Hillary Clinton made clear the importants of standing with the millions of women and girls risking their lives to get an education. The result, she said, will be fewer child brides, greater likelihood those educated will earn more, and raise healthier families. “Closing the education gap is a powerful prescription for economic growth.”
Not all the inspiring young people are risking their lives. Some are just showing the huge potential of our youth. I was taken by 8-year-old Edward Yudenich of Uzbekistan, a young boy who speaks musically of the promise of future generations. While he may not yet have the learning and sophistication associated with adult conductors, he has a remarkable talent and speaks to the potential of greatness to come. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=BNNFtlF9CDE&vq=medium
The tragedy of the slaughter of innocents in Newtown, and a key reason it spoke acutely to people around the world, is the cutting off of human potential. The obliteration of future leaders. The possibility of new insights, new ideas, new energy, new courage. In mourning those little ones, we are mourning the loss of future impacts.
So today, as our leaders are poised to ride, like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove, over the fiscal cliff, I can only come up with a heartfelt – but admittedly lame – set of best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013.
I welcome your comments in the section below.