Children are our future, we must look after them

In these troubled times, parents should be offering love and support to their children. Photo: Shutterstock

In these troubled times, parents should be offering love and support to their children. Photo: Shutterstock

The Pope and a few cardinals are having a late night whiskey in the Vatican.

One of the cardinals asks the Pope "Your Holiness, if Jesus was walking the earth today, what country do you think he would want to live in?"

The Pope puts his head down and muses on this almost theological question, then he looks up and says "I'll go ask him!"

The Pope rushes off into his private chapel and closes the door.

A few minutes later he comes out of his chapel with a shocked look on his face.

"Well, did you ask him Your Holiness?" asked the impatient cardinal.

The Pope replies "I did and the good Lord said if he was walking the earth today he would live down under in Australia."

The cardinal asks in shock "Australia? Why of all the countries in the world would Jesus want to live in Australia?"

The Pope replied "I asked him that exact question and Jesus said 'Because I would feel right at home in Australia - in my thirties, not married and still living with my mother' ".

You hear the truism "children are our future" so often these days it's become a cliché.

And so they are. It's impossible for today's children not to be our future.

Now it's rarely stated, yet it logically follows that if the children are our future, then the parents are our present.

I can't imagine it's ever been easy to be a parent and though thousands call me "Father" I will never have children. So, if I write here, "Come on mums and dads! Put in the effort! You can make the difference", my words can easily be judged as coming without experience.

But one does not need to experience first-hand your glorious vocation of parenthood to know that it is glorious and that you gave birth to the future and hold the future in your hands.

It was the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin who said "There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen".

I suspect Lenin would joyfully agree we are currently living in those weeks.

Parents, it's hard to fathom how successfully your teenagers are being untaught everything you taught them and by people appearing on their phone who love your children so much less than you do.

Parents, it's hard to fathom how successfully your teenagers are being untaught everything you taught them and by people appearing on their phone who love your children so much less than you do.

Last week Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Australian government was monitoring the most popular social media platform of Australia's youth, "TikTok" et al.

Finally! I hope the people monitoring TikTok aren't the same people who were monitoring the COVIDSafe app.

Today's youth now have a new enemy: "cancel culture" where other youth are shamed and bullied online and are publicly "unforgiven" for anything they may have shared online in their past. It's the return of old fascism, just with a new name.

I do not envy the task of you, their parents in 2020 - perhaps the seminal year of our lives. But if you are not that close to your children, perhaps you should swallow your pride and get close to them.

It's said you can't put an old head on young shoulders, but you can.

You can put your head on their shoulders and ask them if they are okay, including your older children.

And please don't say you never get the opportunity. A HILDA survey in 2017 discovered 54 per cent of Australian women aged 18 to 29, and 56 per cent of Australian men in the same age bracket, are still living at home with one or both of their parents. That's more than half of them!

Perhaps the youth of Australia are enjoying the longest juvenility in history.

Maybe this and all the home schooling is a good thing; a chance for parents and children to get to know each other.

Perhaps as a parent you are what your children are looking for as they scroll on their phones all day - a friend for life that will always back them and never cancel them no matter what they do, say or share online.

When Jesus was asked "teach us to pray" he responded "Our Father..", that means God is our parent.

Come on mums and dads! Children are our future, but you are our present.

  • Twitter: @frbrendanelee
This story Children are our future, we must look after them first appeared on The Canberra Times.