Our tradition speaks at great lengths about filial obligations, the responsibilities of children to honor and revere their parents. Likewise, much is written about our obligations as parents to raise children properly, to teach them, and to prepare them for the world. But do we teach them Torah when we do not live it our selves? We do not teach them to build a better world but instead how to selfishly survive in it.
We offer them a world based on material gain, our nation withdrawing from its predominant place in the world, communal strife, a political system challenging the legitimacy of its fundamental institutions, and an economy that will burden them with almost intolerable crushing debt. We have not built a better world for them. And yet, these young people have galvanized in the wake of the Parkland horror. And that gives me hope. For even though we have not done right by them, they seek changes that will benefit us all.
Do we deserve our kids? That remains an open question until we begin to act as though they truly are the most prized things in our lives. We can start by supporting them in their efforts to address gun violence, this grievous wrong in our society that has murdered so many of them. Support them as they raise their voices, join them as they march in March. Help make the world they inherit better than what we have now.