I'm 16. The other night while I was busy thinking about important social issues,
like what to do over the weekend, I overheard my parents talking about my future.
My dad was upset—not the usual stuff that he and Mom worry about,
like which college I'm going to, how far away it is from home and how much it's going to cost.
Instead, he was upset about the world his generation is turning over to mine.
He sounded like this: "There will be a pandemic that kills millions,
a devastating energy crisis, a horrible worldwide depression and a nuclear explosion set off in anger."
As I lay on the living room couch, starting to worry about the future my father was describing,
I found myself looking at some old family photos.
There was a picture of my grandfather in his uniform.
He was a member of the war class.
Next to his picture were photos of my great-grandparents.
Seeing those pictures made me feel a lot better.
I believe tomorrow will be better, not worse.
[Those pictures helped me understand why.
I considered some of the awful things my grandparents and great-grandparents had seen in their lifetimes:
two world wars, killer flu, a nuclear bomb.
But they saw other things, too, better things:
the end of two world wars, the polio vaccine, passage of the civil rights laws.
I believe that my generation will see better things, too
—that we will witness the time when AIDS is cured and cancer is defeated;
when the Middle East will find peace, and the Cubs win the World Series—probably only once.
I will see things as inconceivable to me today as a moon shot was to my grandfather
when he was 16, or the Internet to my father when he was 16.
Ever since I was a little kid, whenever I've had a lousy day,
my dad would put his arm around me and promise me that "tomorrow will be a better day."
I challenged my father once, "How do you know that?"
He said, "I just do." I believed him.
As I listened to my Dad talking that night,
so worried about what the future holds for me and my generation,
I wanted to put my arm around him, and tell him what he always told me:
"Don't worry Dad, tomorrow will be a better day."