In a time where we feel that there isn’t a lot to look forward to and hate and cynics have taken over our social circles and news reports, it’s hard to keep the rhetoric towards our kids upbeat. Josh and I have had many conversations about what to tell them and what not to.
We know they will learn most everything in history class, but we feel a responsibility to let them hear it from us, and an equal responsibility to maintain their innocence and optimism as long as possible. It’s our job to sell our kids the world and help them find their passion and place in it. It’s our job to raise them believing that they can change the world and leave it better than they found it.
You’ve probably seen this poem, and If you haven’t read The Good Bones, I’ll wait while you read it below:
The Good Bones
By Maggie Smith
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
In a world where I see so much turmoil, I stay hopeful. It’s a hard spot to be as a parent, to accept reality, and stay positive in our parenting. To make your kids believe that there is good to be done in this world, despite how many people will be working against them every step of the way.
I bite my tongue and choose not to tell them all of it, giving them a watered down answer because I want them to still make big plans and dreams. I want to teach my kids to believe that they can make a difference.
I choose to not share the heavy with my littles. I’m not sheltering my kids from what’s going on because they can’t handle it, I’m protecting the light in their eyes that drives them to ask questions about our world and want better. I’m sheltering them from the cynicism and doubt in humanity, which they will surely get enough of as they get older.
I’m choosing hope. that my kids are able to maintain their innocence and undeterred perseverance. Soon they will be confronted with the messy parts and I pray that it doesn’t bring them down because they’ve lived enough years believing that they can overcome naysayers.
The bones are good, we have potential, but I need my kids to practice idealism until the world tells them otherwise.