I am living in an era when you and your peers are widely referred to as someone for us to “save” and “protect”. Global warming is accelerating in our time, they say. Our forests are disappearing, they say. There are more and more endangered animals becoming extinct, they say.
You know, when I was a little kid, your grandmother told me about the hard times she had experienced. “It was much harder than it is now.”, she always emphasized. She was doomed to grow up in the post-war decades when it was ordinary for normal people to steal bread to stay alive. She gave up her dream of becoming a sailor to become a journalist instead, just because the latter secured her a stable income. “It seemed that the color gray covered everywhere and everyone," she recalled.
I know when your grandmother was a little girl, your great-grandmother also told her about the challenging era she lived in. You can find the vivid images of that time in Stefan Zweig's “The World of Yesterday”. It was about the generation living through two World Wars. Even in our country, where the World Wars did not directly take place, cycles of colonial occupation and conflict impacted the local population.
Through the darkest days, we are still there. I am not writing this letter to tell you about the story of how my era worked. Every world in every era has something worth living for and something to be pessimistic about.
I can not guarantee that your time might be better or worse and I have no right to make such a judgment. I just want to tell you a classic story that many mothers across time have shared with their children before bedtime:
When Zeus decided to punish humans, he created a person named “Pandora”. She owned a box that Zeus told her not to open for any reason. One day, she opened it. The seeds of war, envy, greed, dispute, to name just a few, everything bad, from the opened box, permed through the whole world. But there is one seed left in that box, which was named “hope”.
We are living in difficult times, as humans have always been. There is no time more difficult than the others. But “Hope” is something you will carry with you, like a breakfast cake you bring in your school bag every morning. “Hope” is a teddy bear going to bed with you whenever the night falls. It will grow up with you and live within you. If you get a score that may upset you, “Hope” will be your friend to cheer you up and accompany you in your study. If you meet someone who puts you down, let’s meet “Hope” to strive for a tomorrow when happiness will find its way.
There will be times you will feel that “Hope" is hiding from you. It is not as patient and persistent as the breath we do not even need to try to hold. Then comes the “Belief" that will take the role of “Hope". “Belief" will help you to find “Hope". Then you may ask me, “How can I know I have met “Belief"?”. My child, “Belief" is something going beyond our knowing horizon, and so is “Hope". Together, they walk with us in the long human race. No rational mind can demonstrate that, but it is real. That is how we keep bicycling on the wheels of life.