What future holds: Millenial Readers

A 16-year old boy was standing at the corner of his room staring at his bookshelves covered in blanket of light dust. Heavy hardbound books were stacked accordingly.  It has no textbooks at all, no journals, nor any encyclopedias, but literatures. He had read Greek, Roman, Anglo-American, Western European and even his own country’s literature, the Philippine Literature, for leisure. He sighed deeply, feeling the cool night breeze lingering upon his skin. He felt a sense of guilt about the fact that he has not read most of literatures around his continent. He was about to sit and face his laptop to search for Asian Literatures, when he suddenly overheard his parents talking from the kitchen.

His father was upset, not on the usual stuff that his parents worry about, like which school in senior high he’s going to, what academic track that best fit his ambitions and how much it’s going to cost. Instead, he was upset about the world his generation is turning over to him. His father sounded like this: “There will be a pandemic that will disable education-oriented people, and gain their social status, a devastating economic crisis, a horrible worldwide depression and a nuclear explosion set off in anger.” As he got out of his room and laid his back on the couch, he started to worry about the future his dad was describing. He doesn’t want to rely on his thoughts any longer so he found himself looking at some old family photos. There was a picture of his grandfather in his uniform at a war class. He was one of the 7,500 troops who fought at war. Next to it was another picture of his grandfather holding a rifle and ready to fight, the boy suddenly recalled the Korean War during the 1950’s, except the picture was tattered and old. Then he thought, it wasn’t his grandfather but his great-grandfather instead. Seeing those old pictures made him feel better, not worse. It helped him understand and considered some of the awful things his grandparents and great-grandparents had been through in their past lifetimes: Two world wars, demand crisis, martial laws, unexpected bombings and forced labor to help the country at war. But they’ve experienced better things too: The end of 2 world wars, the supply of ASEAN collaboration and the passages of the civil right laws and even the human rights and protection. He glanced over the window and into the peaceful night beyond. He believed, right at that moment that his generation will see better things too. That they will witness the time when AIDS is cured and cancer is defeated. When the Middle East will find peace, when education will no longer be a country’s flaw, when environment and economy will adapt into an ecotone behavior to build integrated global economy and the Ozone layer will be sealed again for good.

Ever since he was a toddler whenever he had a bad day, his dad would always put his arm around him and promised to him that, “Don’t worry, tomorrow will be a better day.” And he would challenge his father once, “How do you know that?” His father said, “I just do.” And right off the bat he believed him. As he listened to his dad from the kitchen that night, worrying about what the future holds for him and his generation, he wanted to put his arm around his father and repeat the promise his father always told him: “Don’t worry Dad, tomorrow will be a better day.”

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