Pre-occupied with our own generation’s struggles, it’s easy to forever delay the responsibility to look after the next. We would all want to be thought of as kind and caring towards those that follow us and yet, as David Willetts’ article points out, this has simply not been happening. Those that have benefited most from the post-war boom have failed to save and invest enough for their children or their friends’ children. The results may have been hidden through the years of economic (debt-induced?) boom but the crisis of the last 18 months has laid the situation bare. It exposes the weaknesses of our political system, where short-termism has become a necessity for parties desperate for re-election. The really big decisions that affect coming generations are so often avoided as they have no voting power. Therefore, they need advocates- those who will speak and act without fear of the consequences. Longer parliamentary terms would probably lead to worse downsides of complacency and unchecked dogma so perhaps a reformed House of Lords with increased powers might be part of the solution. Whatever the governing institutions look like, the church should be prepared to challenge short-term self-interest whenever we get a clear view of its consequences.
One of the measures of the Lord’s rule and reign is that the hearts of the fathers will be turned towards their children (and vice-versa- Malachi 4:6). As those who know him and desire to have His love at the centre of our decision-making, we should have a focus far beyond our own needs and wants. Just as we want the next generation to hear about the good news of Christ so we want them to know his love in practical action. Love is never better expressed than in self-sacrifice. Born in 1966 I’m confused about whether I count as a baby-boomer or not. Nonetheless, there should be no confusion in my mind about whether short-term gain at the expense others counts as love. It never has.