Barack Obama wants the younger generation to know that the world as we know it is “kinder, on average, than just about any time in human history”.
In an appearance on TV host Conan O’Brien’s Needs a Friend podcast, which airs on Sunday, Obama said he hopes to instil a sense of resilience and hope in his daughters, Sasha, 22, and Malia, 19.
“Everything right in front of us always looks like just the worst thing, like this has never happened before,” he told O’Brien.
“What I always tell young people is if you examine history then you come to the conclusion that as terrible as things are, the world is healthier, better educated, kinder on average than just about any time in human history,” he continued.
“The problem is we just don’t make progress in a straight line. We have to be vigilant; we have to work hard, we have to push and be resilient. That, I think, is what I hope I’ve instilled in my daughters, and Michelle’s instilled in our daughters,” he said.
"I hope that our body of work is instilling in young people that sense of yeah, it is hard and you’re not going to get 100 per cent of what you’re hoping for. There will still be injustice and racism and ignorance, but you can make things better,” he said.
This week, Obama sat down for a Zoom call with Manchester United football player Marcus Rashford to discuss the impact the next generation can have on society.
Last year, Rashford successfully lobbied for the UK government to continue providing meals for children from low-income backgrounds during school holidays.
Congratulating Rashford on the campaign’s success, Obama said the football player was “a lot further ahead” than he was at 23-years-old.
“Even if you do something positive on a small scale, that's making a difference, and it's the accumulation of people doing positive things over time that makes us a little bit better with each successive generation,” Obama said.