Last week while vacationing in the UK, I visited Central London and the London Bridge.
This architectural marvel looked a bit different from the last time I saw it, which was over a couple of decades ago. It looked less majestic this time, with black barricades erected on both sides, like charms to repel the evil eye.
Anticipating the inevitable question that arose in our minds, our tour guide told us that the barricade is a recent addition, mounted in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the bridge this June.
Just a few days later we hear about the Charlottesville incident.
On Saturday August 12, a far-right group had gathered at Charlottesville to protest the decision to bring down the statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee.
The “Unite the Right” rally attracted a peaceful counter-protest in Charlottesville.
This counter-protest ended in tragedy when a car ploughed into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one person and injuring about 19 others.
Since the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers, the world has changed drastically.
Terror attacks have been happening periodically, reminding us that the evil perpetrators have no intention of abandoning their acts.
Earth has ceased to be a safe home for its inhabitants. Nations have turned against nations, races against races, religions against religions, and man has turned against man. If this attitude of an eye for an eye continues, we would all become blind, as Gandhi said.
It is scary to see where the world is heading, at the peak of its civilization.
The world we lived in as children was much safer than it is today.
The world we leave for the future generations will be one fraught with distrust and hatred, if this is ignored.
The heads of nations could have opposing ideologies, but that does not give individuals a good reason to hate a fellow human being, having a different skin colour, speaking a different language or following a different religion.
Similarly, when individuals migrate to a country to make it their new home, they have to learn to accept, love, and respect the nation and its citizens.
Unfortunately, such principles of peaceful co-existence do not get into school curricula, and are not available in textbooks.
This is evident from the fact that many terror incidents are carried out by home-grown terrorists, who raise arms against their own fellow citizens.
So how would the young generation learn these basic human values of love, compassion and respect for fellow human beings, so that they do not fight each other and perish? If we impart these basic values to the young generation in their impressionable age, they are less likely to be swayed by political propaganda or be vulnerable to brain-washing tactics of extremist groups.
This is where seniors have a robust role to play. Those of us who are grandparents are well-positioned to impart the basic principles of accepting, loving and respecting fellow human beings to our grandchildren.
There is no such thing as a good time to inculcate these values in them.
Each and every time we meet them is a good occasion for us to share these lessons of harmonious coexistence with our grandchildren and also to monitor their thinking as they grow up into young men and women, shaping the world of tomorrow.
Let us spend some time this summer to teach basic human values to our grandchildren so that they can grow up to be architects of a better world united in its diversity — a home safe for all its inhabitants.
Padmaja Genesh, who holds a bachelor degree in medicine and surgery as well as a bachelor degree in Gerontology, has spent several years teaching and working with health care agencies. A past resident of Red Deer, and a past board member of Red Deer Golden Circle, she is now a Learning Specialist at the Alzheimer Society of Calgary. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org