For years I've read articles whose theme was that our future is in the hands of our children. I've read novels where women sacrificed their future for their children. Neither of these themes appeals to me.
Regardless of my age I am always capable of developing my own spirit, which I believe will survive my physical death and be re-born, and contributing to the well-being and growth of others. I am no less willing and able to contribute to the future than a child. I may even be better able because of my development to this point, a known factor, while the child is virtually unformed and her future unknown.
Regarding the novels that feature self-sacrificing mothers, isn't it interesting that none feature self-sacrificing fathers? These stories merely repeat the trite devaluation of women, that even their children are more important. Hmph.
Parental sacrifice is appropriate when it blocks a charging bear from your child. Other than that, just raising a child well requires a certain sacrifice of a parent. Teaching and modeling values and what it means to be human is a vital undertaking.
One of my regrets about my own childhood is that my parents never revealed the truth of their lives and their selves to me. They never discussed the issues they faced. They made all the decisions without my awareness. That cocoon stayed in place until I married and left home at 18, completely unprepared and ignorant.
So, if children are so valuable to our future, what are we doing to prepare them for it? And how can we do that while acknowledging that everyone is valuable, children and parents, young and old?
The future is all of us.