Let's choose to give our children a world of joy, hope and promise BY: DR. BRIAN O'TOOLE
Guyana Chronicle
May 4, 2004

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THE following viewpoint is presented on behalf of the National Commission of the Rights of the Child.

This age has witnessed dramatic changes, which have altered the very fabric of society and submerged humankind into a state of anxiety, insecurity and confusion. This is an age that threatens the basic structures of civilization. It is an age that on the one hand can put a man on the moon whilst on the same day 40,000 children die of preventable diseases. If we are not careful this will be known in history as the age of poverty, terrorism, prejudice, violence and hopelessness.

But this age is thankfully more complex. This age could be compared to a fine tapestry of interwoven strands of light and darkness, of promises and despair.

Amidst the darkness there have been many shinning lights. There has been an explosion of knowledge and a dramatic awakening of masses of humanity who for very long have lain dormant. We now have commutations at the speed of light and transportation at the speed of sound. The world has now contracted into a village in which we are aware of one another's affairs. In today's world there are no secrets between nations.

At the one hand we celebrate these victories, but on the other the daily story is one of poverty, alienation, humiliation and fear.

This is an age which is witnessing the breakdown of religious and political institutions. What were once the standard bearers of the civilization are now outworn and irrelevant. The modern disease is a sense of fertility that nothing really matters. The commentators of this age reflect on the death of culture the disappearance of value and the loss of the inner life.

At the heart of all these problems is the challenge of disunity. Its ugly hand reaches into all spheres of human life. It is at the heart of all the major conflicts which color our newspapers. Sadly, disunity often also stains the relationship between and within religions, negating the very purpose for which they were created.

When we turn our backs on moral principles we see the fabric of society collapse. The voice of conscience falls silent, the sense of shame darkens and the concepts of duty, solidarity and loyalty become warped. This is seen on a daily level across the face of the earth in corrupt officials of all political persuasions and persons in public and private institutions.

Disunity at the collective level and corruption and a lack of moral standards at the individual level are the bane of modern-day society.

But there are as many strands of light. Thank God, signs are emerging that mankind is in the process of learning behind the adolescent stage of turbulence and is on the threshold of a new stage of maturity.

Just as the individual passes through stages of childhood and adolescence, humanity too has passed through such stages and is now on the threshold of maturity. The very upheavals in today's society are indicators of this age of transition. As in the life of a human being, for whom maturity creates new demand and challenges, maturity in the evolution of humankind is also marked by a new set of demands and a new set of possibilities.

Which path we tread the one of light or darkness is left to each one of us to choose. For there to be a future for humankind we need to begin to make the right choices so that we give our children a world of joy, hope and promise in which to grow and develop.