Will the next generation of Americans be “better off” than their parents?
Until now, each generation has been. But as fears about the economy, war and global warming mount, survey results can reveal uncertainty.
More than half of Americans – 56 percent – said last year the U.S. economy is doing poorly, according to the Pew Research Center’s Spring 2015 Global Attitudes Survey.
And an even larger number of Americans were pessimistic about prospects for the next generation. Sixty percent said children today will be worse off financially than their parents, the survey found. Worldwide, only Europeans at 64 percent were more negative.
But that pessimism was in short supply Sunday – Mother’s Day – at Sisters Hospital in Buffalo, where moms and dads were celebrating births and hopeful about their newborn children’s futures.
“With every generation, there’s always the last and greatest fear,” said Cate Macho of North Java, mom to Gerdi, born at 8:20 a.m. Sunday. “Each generation finds its way to meet the challenges that they’re faced with during that generation. I think her generation will do the same.”
Macho and her husband, Steve, said they hope Gerdi grows up to be independent, self-determined and spend several years living abroad to gain an international perspective. They want to provide her with opportunities, set a good example and give her meaningful experiences.
“Optimism or pessimism, we set that tone,” said Steve Macho.
In another room on the hospital’s Family BirthPlace floor, Lindsay Rogers cradled her newborn, Ivy, who was wearing a special Mother’s Day onesie handed out by Catholic Health, which also gave roses to the moms.
“We’re providing everything we can for our girls,” she said. “We just hope their life will be even better, if it can get better, because I think we have a pretty great life.”
The parents of Damier Goodman, born Saturday at 10:09 a.m., said they’re also taking steps to give him and his four siblings a bright future such as saving for their education and buying a house.
“We don’t have parents that left us a house or bought us our first car, so right now we’re working on things like that,” said Damier’s mom, Angel Myree. “Since we want a big family and we’re having a big family we’re working on having property, then giving them the house and giving them a car.”
Unsurprisingly, all the parents said they hope their newborns grow up to be good citizens and good people who make good choices.
Globalization means today’s kids around the world will be competing against and collaborating with each other when they’re grown, said Steve Macho, an associate professor in the School of Education at SUNY Buffalo State, as his daughter slept in her bassinet. Whether that leads to a better world or not is up to them, he said.
“Life has always been challenging,” he said. “We can be whimsical or nostalgic about the world we used to understand very well. But the future’s always been unknown. Having children is the most optimistic thing you can do.”