I look to the Heavens and question: How do we parents explain the world’s evils to our children? This is the million-dollar question that strikes us time and again in the aftermath of each subsequent catastrophe. Aside from the stock replies of “only God knows,” and “there are bad people in the world,” how do we keep our children inspired to believe in themselves, to work hard in school, their communities—in life—with the hope of a promising future? As kids, we believed we had the right to think that way and why shouldn’t they?
The answer is not to avoid all places that acts of terror have transpired such as: malls, tall buildings, sporting events and movie theaters?
No, living our lives in fear, hiding out and cocooning ourselves is not the answer. And certainly not the example to set for our children who (rightfully so) believe to have their whole lives in front of them. They deserve to dream, to hope and to pursue a fulfilling life.
Now more than ever, we must step up and be the shining example for our kids, living our own lives fearlessly, day after day, as we step out of our comfort zones to experience the extraordinary. I’m not talking about adrenaline junkies who jump out of planes all day long or scuba dive at night with sharks. I am referring to living a live full of passion and purpose and courageously engaging in the very stuff that makes us vulnerable.
Do we not fall in love because we’re afraid of a broken heart? Do we not compete in the tournament because there’s a good chance we’ll lose? Do we not spread an important message because we’re afraid to speak in public because someone may notice our nervous twitch or crooked mouth?
Of course not! And let’s be clear: I’m not an advocate for recklessness or the failure to take necessary precautions. But rather, we must instill hope and faith in our children, in spite of fluctuating chaotic circumstances. We must use these horrific events as evidence of just how much they are needed to take their place in the world, to be a beacon of hope to others and make a real difference. More than ever, opportunities are everywhere to bring in the light and our kids all have the collective potential to become the generation of advocates, the game-changers—the heroes who will save the world.
Let’s turn Monday’s nightmare around and infuse our kids with the confidence they’ll need to become the brave first-responders and future activists that can put an end to world hatred.
That’s the lesson I’m imparting to my brood.