“There are far, far better things ahead than we leave behind.” - C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis wrote the Chronicles of Narnia; seven books where children from the real world are magically transported to Narnia. Narnia is a place where animals talk, magic is common and good battles evil. The books span the entire history of Narnia from its creation to its eventual destruction. Except for the animals talking, Narnia mirrors civilization on earth.
The statement “There are far, far better things ahead than we leave behind,” calls up images in my mind of all the comments that encompass “The American Dream.” When I was in high school I was told that as an American, I would live a better life than my parents. I grew up in a family where both of my parents worked hard every day. When I was younger, my mom was what we call now, a stay at home mom. My brothers and sisters and I played while she worked. As my siblings and I got older, we each took on household duties, but my mom still worked hard every day. When I entered college my mom took a night job at a downtown restaurant to supplement the family income. Even in the 1960s a family of 10 required a hefty income. My dad had a good job with a good salary. My dad left home on Monday morning to go to work, he did not come home until just in time for supper on Friday night. He worked for Honeywell as a heating and cooling specialist. He traveled through northern Minnesota and North Dakota installing and repairing heating systems in big buildings. He worked on the instillation of the missile silos in North Dakota and even worked on the shuttle assembly building at Cape Canaveral. (But those stories are for another time.) My parents worked hard. I knew that if I worked hard, I too could live “The American Dream.”
Fast forward to 1995; I taught a class at YME called Communications. It was a combination of speaking, and writing skills, especially those necessary to fit into the world of work. One of the units was a career investigation unit. I did my due diligence in preparing for the unit: the jobs of the future, the style of workforce (teamwork) that would be the most successful, and the inclusion of technology. The one fact that glared out at me was that the economic prognosticators painted an image of a future where the children of that generation would not be able to attain the lifestyle of their parents. In short, my generation was the last American generation to be able to afford to own a home, be able to find employment that would support a family, and would be able to afford a college education. They predicted that 70 percent of the jobs would require no more than a two year post high school education. A recent headline stated: Report: Child born in 2011 will cost $234,900 to raise.
Page 2 of 2 - I have fears for America’s future. That brings me back to C.S. Lewis’s statement. I want to believe that there are ‘far, far better things ahead than we leave behind” but I am beginning to understand that he was referring to an afterlife and not a future in this life.
Man does not seem to have learned from history books. History tells us that every great nation has self destructed in less than 300 years.
If we cannot learn from history books, maybe we can learn from C.S. Lewis. In his book The Last Battle, Jewel the unicorn says, “All worlds draw to an end…”
What destroyed Narnia? A great deception created by a wise old ape named Shift. Shift wanted control and power more than anything. He shifted his allegiance from Aslan (the symbol of the Jesus) to Tash (the equivalent of the Devil).
Are we ready for the end of “The American Dream”?