Mon • Apr 22nd, 2013 • by Tom Nees • Comments 10
I spent last Thursday evening and Friday with my 11-year old grandson Luke watching the CNN reporting of the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. He was on a sleepover with his grandparents – one of his favorite places.
At the same time he was asking me about 9/11 for a school project he is working on. I gave him a little book I edited in 2002 about my experiences working on disaster mitigation in New York: “One Year Later: Remembering 9/11.” I could never have imagined that these reflections would be a part of my legacy for my children and grandchildren – learning to live in a post 9/11 world!
He had lots of questions about terrorism, bombs, death and his future, like “who will care for me if my parents are gone – if my grandparents are gone?”
This is time for leaders, as well as parents and grandparents to see the world, present and future through the eyes of children.
They want to know if they are safe? I didn’t have to worry about that at his age.
What can they expect? And how do we explain 9/11, Newtown, the Boston bombing – and who knows what is next?
Two thoughts I want to pass on to children and grandchildren.
The danger – fundamentalism kills
While bombs and guns kill, the real danger is fundamentalism, whether political, religious or ethnic. For fundamentalists, with their exclusive claims to truth, it is a short distance from being willing to die for a cause to killing for a cause.
Every fundamentalism motivates other fundamentalisms. They leave no room for a global community of peace and safety.
The truth – whatever our differences, we are interdependent
A quote from Aldo Leopold, from “A Sand County Almanac,” his essays on conservation -
“All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. His instincts prompt him to compete for his place in the community, but his ethics prompt him also to cooperate (perhaps in order that there may be a place to compete for).”
The leader’s role in a post 9/11 world, after the Boston bombing is twofold.
Prepare followers, especially the children, to be vigilant.
There is no hiding place, and sadly no safe place.
Remind everyone that however committed, even competitive we are to and for our values and beliefs, it is in the common good that our children and grandchildren will flourish.
As in the words of the ancient prophet Jeremiah – “Seek the welfare of the city, pray to Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”