American (or indeed British) students may well be wondering what all their effort is for exactly. Yale professor Bill Deresiewicz has characterised the current generation of high-achieving students as "excellent sheep", haunted by a fear of failure yet clueless about where they're going. They're probably worried that it's nowhere: the OECD's projections for the world economy between now and 2060 are for slowing world growth and near-stagnation in advanced economies. The Oxford Martin School has predicted that 47 per cent of US jobs are susceptible to automation. Sarah Brennan, chief executive of Young Minds, says her organisation is seeing children as young as 11 worrying about unemployment.
Just as a suicidal person is crying out for help when she tells others she wishes she were dead, so a woman who is distressed over a pregnancy is crying out for help when she tells others she is considering abortion. In both cases, the desperate person is reaching out in the hope that someone will announce they truly care, and will truly help them. They need to see the value of life, their own as well as their child's, reflected in the love of those who would help them preserve that life. They need to hear that they are strong enough to triumph in the life that is theirs, and that whenever they grow weak, we will be there to strengthen them and even carry them.