As I thought about what to write this month, I planned to write a little about some tips to making the transition back to school easier, routines and traditions that will center your family in the midst of busy schedules. But as I sat down to write this past weekend, with news of more gun violence across the country, I felt a little helpless and a little scared about the world my children are growing up in. A world where bulletproof backpacks are a thing and finding myself sometimes thinking of exit strategies when I’m in a public place with my children (does anyone else do that these days?) is not the world in which I want my children to grow up.
Now, the ways we can do something about this as adults is a conversation all on its own. But I have been thinking of what I can instill in my children, without scaring them or forcing them to grow up too quickly, especially as they go back to school:
Sounds so simple, yet it is so powerful. The most important lesson I hope to teach and reteach my children is to be kind to everyone they meet, no matter the differences. To teach them to think about how it feels to be the recipient of kindness and then to go out on a mission to bring that feeling to others. You lose nothing and gain everything by being kind to those around you. That they are and should be the same kind of person on and off screen.
Be a voice.
In connection with being kind, I hope to teach my children to be a strong voice in the world. A voice for kindness, love, inclusion, and support. A voice for those who may not have as strong a voice. To notice those on the outside and bring them in. To stand up for what’s right, even when it’s hard or lonely. To be a voice for change if change is what is needed. They can be a voice, a voice that is strong.
Look for the good.
One of the greatest lessons my mom taught me growing up was to look for the good. Even among all the scary, hard, sad things in the world, there is good. Good people and good things. This perspective this has gotten me through many difficult things in my life. My children are getting older and they are starting to become more aware of what is happening around the world and that life is not perfect. I hope I can teach them to look for the good and use this perspective and use it to find strength in the hard times.
I love them.
My kids are getting older and are spending more time in school and extracurricular activities. I hope that not a moment goes by that they don’t know for certain that their mom (and dad) love them unconditionally and without limits. That they carry that knowledge in their hearts and that that is a source of comfort and strength for them.
Sending our children out into the world can be a daunting task. Sending them out with these tools helps me feel a little braver and a little stronger.