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Penguins in the Desert

By heath - Posted on 01 February 2007

Imagine that you heard of a plan, a secret plan, by various governments in league with Muslim terrorists to establish a beach-head in your region for the military overthrow of the United States. Imagine that when you heard this plan, you believed it, but you didn't think about the consequences. Perhaps you were too young or naive to really get it. You just thought of it as your current life with some different leaders. However, the more you learned about the plan the more you began to understand that this would really change your life.

In the mean time, you have gotten married, had children, and begun to live what most considered a normal life. You bought a house, cars, and other things. You went to church, you went to parties, you worked, you watched TV. You did everything you needed to succeed. You began to teach your children not just by your action and pattern of life how to succeed. However, you began to realize that the world your children would live in, would not be your own.

You gradually began to see that possibly within your own lifetime the contours of a successful life might radically change. The next world was not going to be a world of peace and prosperity for people like you. As you looked around, you began to see, because of your own anxiety, people whom this world treads under foot. Did you want your children to be these people? What was it that caused these people to be so unable to achieve success in this world? You understood that among other things, their parents did not adequately prepare them for "the way the world works."

They were not taught to work hard. They were not disciplined when it came to deferring gratification. It was also true that they did not receive an adequate education and that their parents allowed them to engage in foolish and self-destructive behavior from an age when no one would have known better on their own. Finally, these people seemed to not understand the protocols of proper social interactions. They were rude, they were poorly dressed, they said the wrong thing at the wrong time. It was as if you could see children at the time that they are born as starting at various depths in an ocean and their parents either pushing them toward the surface where life and breath were or dropping their children to slowly sink under the weight of their poor preparation. Finally, you saw others where parents were actually chaining great weights around their necks.

You began to realize not only are you very similar to these disenfranchised masses, but that your children are not unlike them. You, in fact, are now in the position as the parent and not the baby. You are the one who prepares for life or death. Not only this, but, you are preparing your child for a life in water, and your children may very well live on land.

You began to realize that you might be unwittingly contributing to your children's demise by preparing them for a world in which they would not live. You began to imagine your children as penguins on land running from lions. And, in a moment of clarity you begin to see not only your children but you, your neighbors, friends, co-workers, and fellow parishioners swimming in the desert. In order to prepare your children and possibly yourself for the coming change you would have to abandon your current values. To survive in a totalitarian regime, one would need to develop a cut-throat ethic. The world would no-doubt be a violent world with much suffering. How could you teach your children about this world while going to weekly birthday parties and frequent trips to Inflatable Fun Land?

How do you make the choices necessary to live in two largely incompatible worlds at once?


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