Hope For 2016


There is so much good reason for hope. There seems so much good reason for despair. As we prepare to begin 2016, I wanted to offer a few thoughts that some may find encouraging. I often feel the need to remind myself about all the uplifting things, the encouraging things … yes, the hopeful things happening around us every day. They can be easy to miss. 

We live in a time of frequent violence, of troubled race relations, of intolerance toward religions, of shallow opinions expressed with open hostility. And because we are fortunate enough to enjoy instant communication and wildly varied media sources, we must cope with the down side of that too: A continual bombardment of bad news and ignorant ideas. The world can appear bleak … if we let it.

But a deeper look at the reality shows us something different really is going on. Just this past October, for instance, the World Bank made a very important announcement — and it got little news or social media attention. The number of people living in extreme poverty is about to fall under 10 percent. For the first time. The organization reported that this is part of a quarter-century of sustained progress, offering a real chance to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030. Think about that. Now there’s a good reason for genuine hope.

Many other social markers also are wonderfully encouraging, things like the growing number of people with access to decent water. And nearly 200 nations recently signed a legally binding pact to improve our environment through limits on global warming. There is a long list of such positives if we look for them. In the United States, gay marriage is legal, bullying is recognized as a serious issue, more attention has been focused on the problem of distracted driving. Hope. All of these, good reasons for hope.

And in our own lives, we can find hope as well. I believe that learning to look past our immediate self-interest is one key to living a better life, in 2016 and beyond. If we find ways to share our talents and time and other blessings with people around us through efforts we care about, we can find meaning and purpose even during difficult periods. Helping others is the best way to help ourselves. That’s the lesson we try to teach our kids at the Humanity Project.

And so here at the Humanity Project, we welcome 2016. As we begin our 11th year as a nonprofit group, we are hopeful about our work of helping kids to help kids … and sometimes parents too. And we also are hopeful for a world that continues its slow, painful but real movement toward improved lives for all people.