Quo Vadis

In the early 1950’s a new movie, “Quo Vadis” was released. It was a somewhat romanticized version of real events that took place in the Roman Empire at a time when Christianity was emerging and political intrigue was deepening.The title of the film, loosely translated, means ” where are you going?”

Indeed, where are we going? For all of us, especially our children, how are we shaping, with our policies, beliefs, hopes and fears, a future where life can be lived in a meaningful and satisfactory way? Given the dark clouds of change that threaten access to affordable and reliable health care, draw back support for childhood nutrition and day care, turn a blind eye to the senseless killing of children by the proliferation of guns, dampen the enthusiasm and curiosity for legitimate scientific inquiry and label news that is not liked as “fake”, the answer to the question, “where are we going?’ becomes more urgent with each passing day.

But that question may be the wrong one. More importantly, it is not so much where are we going but what do we want,  when and if we get there. For example, what do we mean when we speak of health care that is of high quality and accessible and affordable to all? Do we truly mean “all” or just us? If “all” does that mean a system of payment for medical care and treatment for every single individual regardless of economic status?

And of course there is gun control. Do we really want to put a stop to the killing of innocent children and the ever present fear that surrounds us all by the proliferation of assault weapons? Will we ever have the courage to admit that, yes, guns do kill people, and assault weapons do so in horrific ways and thus demand legislation that ready access to such weapons be stopped?

Do we want to stop the scourge of drug addiction and deaths from overdose by possibly bringing ourselves to think that compassionate rather than punitive ways of dealing with this epidemic might just be more productive and lasting?

With overwhelming evidence that the early years of life shape the future, do we want resources for young children that encourages their development, learning and care for each other? Are we willing to pay, through our tax dollars, generously for this to be the norm for how we value our children?

What about open spaces, clean air, woods and streams and the natural wonders of God’s creation? Do we want to preserve those places, free of exploitation and commercial use? If so, are we willing to influence policy and demand political accountability to ensure that it happens?

Where are we going and what do we want? As long as we remain suspicious of each other, dominated by fear and led by political forces that ignore the common good, we will find it difficult to answer those questions and more often will lose our way in attempting to do so.

Yet, there is hope. That hope. fundamentally, lies in how we find in ourselves the courage and ability for compassion, acceptance, respect and concern for each other and our planet. And that is the theme of the novel, Quo Vadis, written in 1895, which inspired the movie. The author captures the apocryphal story of the apostle Peter fleeing from Rome to escape persecution, who encounters the risen Christ and asks that question: Quo Vadis? Christ answers by saying he is going back to Jerusalem to be crucified again. It is at that point Peter regains the courage needed to turn around , return to Rome, and fulfill his destiny.

So Where are we going? Perhaps it is time we too, turned around and faced, with courage and conviction, the challenges before us. Only then will we define what we truly want and what our own destiny demands of us.


About Olson Huff, MD

Olson Huff is a pediatrician, author, husband, father of three sons and grandfather of four dynamic and growing grandchildren. Often described as a visionary leader and eclectic thinker, his efforts have always been to acknowledge the power, value and delight to be found in ALL children. As a pediatrician he has used his skills as a clinician to provide healing, as an author his words to reveal the spirit of children and as an advocate to plead their case from the state house of politics to the White House of policy changes. His vision is that ALL children will have the very best start in life from their earliest years of development to the brightness of the future they aspire to shape. He believes ALL children have a right to affordable, quality health care, clean and safe environments and homes that cherish their presence.
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12 Responses to Quo Vadis

  1. John H. LaMotte says:

    Thank you, Olson, for putting all our thoughts into such clear and challenging words!

  2. Judy Major says:

    So very eloquent, thought-provoking and inspirational as always, Olson. Thank you!

  3. Jack J Prather says:

    Olson – Bravo! More later from Johnson City TN where Joyce and I now reside. How are you and yours? Jack

    Jack J. Prather prathergroup@aol.com 828-808-0660 http://www.amazon,com/books

  4. Barbara McLean says:

    You ask a very good question, Olson. After listening to the youth speak on Saturday, I feel more hopeful than I have in awhile. We must continue to ask the hard questions and then find the courage to enact solutions to those questions.

  5. Cecil Jiividen says:

    Olson, you put your finger on issues so vital to our future circumstances and our present actions motivated by clarity and integrity. Much wisdom expressed in our present and forecast our future. Thanks, Cecil

  6. Steve kaagan says:

    On gun violence children are leading a crusade of hope, clarity and simplicity. We owe it to them to do the same on other issues of health and welfare. Thanks Olson for articulating the agenda.

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