Dear Joseph, Elle and Charlotte,
Last week a radio host asked me in an interview to make a statement about the state of the world and how difficult it is to raise kids in this current cultural climate. My answer disappointed her. She was hoping for doom and gloom mixed with some religious jargon about how these are signs of the end of things.
Instead, I told her that raising kids in this world feels hopeful.
And I absolutely mean it.
Please don’t let well-meaning adults catastrophize the events of world right now. Yes, terrible things are happening but the truth is terrible things are always happening and quite honestly always will until God comes and makes all things right.
One thing that I want to tell you is that when you see heartbreaking things happening in the world, there are always good things happening right in the midst of horror.
I learned this from Mr. Fred Rogers, who made Daniel Tiger everything he is today. Mr. Rogers once said that when he was little and felt scared by the news, his mom always reminded him to “look for the helpers.” You can always find them.
Just like last summer when we got off a plane only to be greeted by every TV in the airport looping video about the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida. Remember how we pointed out the brave people who were risking their lives to drag their wounded friends out of the building? Or the strangers who drove their pickup trucks up to transport hurt people to the hospital? Or the brave policemen who stormed into the building to save as many people as possible?
In every situation where terror exists there are always helpers who show up and remind us that good is more powerful than evil.
Hope takes some noticing. It isn’t something we can wait around for — hope takes work to train our eyes and thoughts to look for it. So continue to look for the helpers, and be the helpers because that is participating in bringing God’s kingdom come.
The second thing that I want to tell you is that I have complete confidence in you.
You are a generation that is woke. I know you are thinking I am super cool for knowing what woke is, and you’re welcome for that. But seriously, your generation is aware.
When I was growing up, I had no clue about politics or what was happening in the Middle East or why I needed to care about justice and liberty for all. You on the other hand, ask good questions and make room for diversity. You are advocates by nature and are growing up in a time when the images you see on TV don’t make you afraid, they cause you to act.
You are interested in changing the future, not just critiquing it and that is why I am hopeful.
I am sorry that our current culture so often celebrates criticism rather than encouraging action. Perfect strangers are currently taking their frustrations out on each other online instead of feeding the hungry people, or inviting someone who voted differently than they did over for dinner.
I am convinced the power of your generation will be your heart for action and an awareness of the power of your words. There is a movement bubbling up among you and your friends that goes beyond cynicism and celebrates a new way of living.
You will be a generation that stops complaining about culture and the church and starts becoming the kind of culture and church we are all dreaming of. It is a contagious revolution with remarkable potential.
Sometimes I forget that there are women just like me all around the world who have the same hopes and dreams for their kids that I have for you. The only difference is they have fewer resources available to them — resources like clean water, access to healthful food, or money to buy schoolbooks for their kids.
It is my moments of clarity that I begin to make choices to reflect the truth that the moms I meet in Ecuador and India and Iraq and I are raising the world together. So we help one another when we need it. We step in and share resources through things like sponsoring a child or prayers or eye contact that says, “I see you”.
Which is very simply what I hope you will offer the world as well: Share what you have been given, pray for those who are hurting, and make sure the people you encounter feel seen. Because it seems to me that this is how hope wins.
So, my precious offspring, thank you for showing us a better way and also for being silly and reminding us to play, because what we need right now is a lot less doom-and-gloom radio interviews and lot more hope.
I am so grateful to be your mom.
All my love always,
How do your kids give you hope for the future of the world? Leave a comment below or better yet, write your own letter!
Mother’s Day is so often a time for families to celebrate that special mother figure in their lives but for this year, why not take the time to write your kiddos or the child you sponsor a letter? Let them know how you see them as people who are bringing a little more hope to this world.