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Just back from Las Vegas for a visit with our kids and grandkids. I never imagined that place being a part of our lives, but with this shrinking planet anyone’s children can widen their parents’ world in surprising ways. Initially, the place was an experience all its own, but very quickly even the Strip lost out to the magic of being with our grandkids – and their parents, of course.

Closest we got to the Strip this time was on our way to and from the airport. Our visit was all kids and grandkids, plus some virus that left us limp for a stretch. Still, the elixir of the grandkids enjoying one another provided a renewing kind of energy during those too-few days.

Las Vegas seems to many an unreal world, especially when it comes to concerns about kids’ values and education. In conversations out there about offspring and environment, it is not unusual to hear someone say that our “most precious commodity” – children – need to experience the real world where they can find their meaning and a real life, implying that Vegas was not the place to do that.

But just what is the real world?

The short answer is: All of it. Reality is all around us. The world of the “Top One-Percent” is not just their reality but all of ours as well, even from a misty distance – as is that of the worst and poorest parts of the Third World. Even for those out of touch with reality, their “world” is as real to them as ours is to us. Reality is the truth of where and how anyone lives. It is the workplace of being and becoming.

Every piece of today’s world is real. The fantasy lands of Walt Disney are just as real as the Middle East and its turmoils and the recurring tragedies in Africa. The explosions of technology, the penetrations of Outer Space, the struggles among all nations to form a better world out of all of humanity’s shortcomings comprise the reality to be passed on by our kids to our grandkids.

Las Vegas is just one small piece of that reality. It has its lessons for those living there and, like life itself, its share of challenges. What our kids are giving their children is much of what we gave them growing up. The crucial piece of any set of values – and any environment –  is love. Somewhere any reality, touched by that, down the line, has to make for a better world.