Your son is going to live in a world where we will be reaching out to places in the world that but my father’s lifetime ago, did not exist in our understanding.
When my father was born, the world was standing tenatively in the dawn of a nuclear age; in the shadows cast from Nagasaki. Atoms were dangerous, capricious things that loomed ominously over the landscape, that made men fear, that brought the world under a blanket of snow so cold that at least twice, the whole world stood on the precipice of making that winter eternal. Twice over, hands hovered over the buttons.
When I was born, we didn’t know what we were. Didn’t know why we were. And I was ten when the USSR collapsed and the bombs stopped being important. And we could stop defining ourselves by who we were against and had to start stumbling towards telling people who we are.
Your son is going to grow up in this world. A world shaped by people who have, through the power of thought, looked at the sun and realised that there is nothing in this world that we cannot understand if we but try; that this is our world, and that we owe it a responsibility of care, and that if we but care enough to show an interest, it will never fail to surprise and to delight us.
You have given the world a beautiful gift, that is your son, and you have given your son the beautiful gift that is the whole world.
No angels, no dragons, no elves or imps or pixies or fairies; you have brought him into a world that’s there: It’s really, really there. You don’t need to give him ephemeral things like faith and miracles. You can give him the things that are there; it is enough for him, and it has to be enough for him, because it is everything that there is.
Justice. Love. Duty. Beauty.
These things are things that we make. And they are things that mean nothing unless we share them. There is always something beautiful waiting to be known.
And that’s not a quote. That’s just what I think.