To borrow a saying from a book I recently read, lately I’ve been stuck wearing my heavy boots.
The rash of terror attacks that rocked numerous cities over the last month. The Syrian refugee crisis. The assault at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado. The hateful, reckless, utter stupidity that is Donald Trump. It all weighs heavy on me, and I find my funny is harder and harder to access. I try to force it out, but it feels insincere because more important things need to be said.
In light of everything that has been going on around the world, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the future of our kids. What kind of a world will they live in? What kind of people will they be? How can I protect their bodies and shield their delicate little hearts from all of this bad? With so much negativity out there, how do I keep them from becoming jaded, judgmental and closed off?
For weeks something has been buzzing around my brain like an annoying fruit fly; a thought so small, it is impossible to catch, yet is so persistent I can’t ignore it either. How do I teach them to be good?
The answer? I don’t know. I don’t know if you can teach someone to be inherently good. But I do think you can teach them to recognize the bad, in hopes they learn to avoid it. And I think, when you boil it down to it’s most basic constituents, the cornerstone of the bad is small-minded thinking.
While it may be naive to think all of the world’s bad is due to small-minded thinkers, it feels like a place to start.
Thinking your way is the only way – be it religion, sexual preference, marriage, parenting, whatever – is small-minded. It is divisive, hurtful and toxic. And most of all, it is wrong. There is always another way to do something, and while it may not be ideal for you, it very well may be the best thing for someone else. This concept holds true from something as basic as how a toddler decides to stack their blocks to how someone decides to interpret the Bible (or Quran, or Torah, etc.). There is always another way.
And this is where I feel conflicted, because I want to protect them. I want to shield them. I want to turn a blind eye, and pretend that everything is always sunshine and rainbows, while I continue to do the easy thing, and operate entirely out of my own comfort zone.
But hiding the bad doesn’t teach someone to be good. So contrary to what feels safe and easy, I need to teach them to be open, in both their hearts and their minds. I need to teach them to be accepting. I need to teach them to be allowing of others paths, even when they don’t understand them. And hardest of all, I need to teach them how to do it all without getting heavy boots.
Somehow I need to regain my balance. I have to recognize there is more good than bad out there, and that all of this nastiness can be evened out with a whole heap of goodness if you just look at it the right way. Until then, I will enjoy the sunshine in my little girl’s innocent smile, and the kicks of the baby still waiting to join us out here. And I will hope that I can do as I say, and be open, accepting and allowing, even when it’s hard.
Image credits: Open mind picture, cover photo