No one has to convince us that our world is in a mess. Not only is our world in a mess but every country is in a mess. Not only is every country in a mess but every city is in a mess. Not only is every city in a mess but every suburb is in a mess. There is racism, crime, rape, corruption, lack of jobs and education, vast inequality and all forms and sorts of supremacy. The list goes on. These evils are on every corner of every city in the whole world. How will we change our world for the better? During my mere 31 years on this earth I have experienced one very practical and free solution which I believe will impact our world for the better. It is to see the elders, the older generation, invest their lives into the lives of the youth.

Invest your life into the lives of the youth

If every person in Johannesburg, South Africa or Seoul, South Korea helped to influence and shape the next generation- for the good – we could change these two great cities in one generation.

We could change our world

At first this might sound nonsensical or even ridiculous. I mean, how could investing in the next generation change the world right? To help support this idea with evidence, I am now going to retell how two older people helped to change my broken life.

Simon and Alison Baty (picture below) are a married couple who live in the Western Cape, South Africa. They are farmers who manage a large citrus farm in the Sandveld. They don’t own their own land but do have a family which includes three kids – Emma, Lucinda and Justin. What makes Simon and Alison (or Ali as we call her) heroes in the eyes of many young people, is that they have chosen to do what I have suggested above. They use their time, money, words, prayers, hands, etc. to love the next generation.

They use their time, money, words, prayers, hands, etc. to love the next generation.

I cannot speak for other people whose lives have also changed because of them, but I can speak for myself. I first met them in 2008 while walking from Cape Town up the West Coast. I was immediately struck by their warmth and love. This sparked a friendship, which turned into a mentorship, which became a “parent-son” relationship. When I met them I was a broken man with racist thoughts, a lust for pornography, a powerful desire to objectify woman. I was both insecure and proud, all at the same time. So what did they do? They invested their lives into my life and over time my heart changed. They prayed with me and for me. They told me about the goodness of Jesus. They allowed me to go stay with them, at no cost. They listened to me. They challenged me. They fed me physically and spiritually. The result was that over 10 years – my life changed. My pride changed to humility and my insecurities faded in the face of Jesus . My lust for woman and the desire to objectify them changed into a genuine respect for all women. My racist thoughts changed to thoughts of love. I was on a one way road to destruction which could have taken me into all sorts of ugly places, however through them Jesus guided me onto the narrow road that goes to life.

I must add in here that over the past 31 years (since birth), I have had many older people (including my parents) who have played a big part in shaping me. I have just chosen to talk about Simon and Ali.

The result was that over 10 years – my life changed.

Could Simon and Ali impact every person on the planet? No. Could Simon and Ali turn every racist to love? No. Could Simon and Ali convince every sexual abuser to give up their ways and help build people up? No. But if we ALL touch the lives of one or two younger people – pointing them in the right direction – we can change our cities in one generation. So what are you waiting for? Go invest in younger people. Well-done and thank you to the those who are. Keep going. To Simon and Ali – Thank you for all you do for the next generation.