The future

Another beautiful rant from Boaganette.

“I have learned so much from my children. It seems like every day my son is teaching me some new lesson, he’s teaching me how to see the world a different way. Quite frankly, a better way.”

I’ve been thinking about what little kids can teach us about planning for the future. At 16 months, the little dude is not a planner. Obviously. He does a thing until he gets bored of it and then he moves on to the next thing.

Which is maybe a better way? From the moment kids have a conception of the future, we try and get them to plan for it. What the hell are adults thinking, asking six year olds what they want to do when they grow up?! It’s a completely stupid line of questioning. 

Planning for the future is a Responsible Thing. Just look at all the think-pieces about saving for retirement, or saving for your kids’ education. 

I wonder whether maybe it’s all a bit of a rort, because we can’t know what our futures hold and meanwhile every moment spent planning for the future is a present moment passing us by. 

The little dude doesn’t let present moments pass him by. Developmentally he is not yet capable of planning beyond the very near future (”I will go into the bedroom and open the drawers!”), so he lives in the present without conscious effort. 

But perhaps we would all find it easier to live in the present if there was less pressure constantly to plan for the future? Yeah I know, taken to the extreme we’d all be the hedonistic grasshopper shivering in winter while those responsible ants gorge themselves on stored food. 

Except no-one wants to be the ant who doesn’t enjoy the berries when they’re ripe and juicy and stores too much and some of it goes rotten. 

And maybe the focus on the future can be an excuse for inaction. Like when child poverty is discussed in the language of long-term disparities in educational attainment, because that matters so much more than the present day experience of going to school without breakfast or lunch. Maybe we’ll solve the problem but only if there is a cost/benefit analysis that demonstrates it will save money in the long run, can you prove that? Uh, no, but I can prove that food solves the problem of hunger. Even a 16 month old toddler knows that.