In Philadelphia in 2014 a few attractive looking educated 20 something's had dinner and then while walking on to the next fun thing allegedly attacked and beat a gay couple because they were a gay couple. Wow. I mean, really. This generation? I mean, how does that hatred exist. And it was pretty astonishing ... we are the city of brotherly love! These folks attended the Catholic School just miles away from where I live. Two men and one woman were arrested.
I guess being a woman I was most struck by her participation. The woman, in her mid 20's and blonde and pretty... I just wonder what was on her mind. Had she ever really thought about who she was and what her values were, I wonder. What did she stand for? Why had she chosen this hatred for herself? Same for the men. It is tragic for the men that were attacked but also for our neighborhood and world that here were a dozen or so young adults who were so thought less. Even if they did not attack they watched and did not try to stop what was happening. Had no inner code that caused them to step forward even if they risked injury themselves.
I see people with this code all the time through my work talking to grieving families about organ donation? Families that have blessed and saved the lives of others are all colors and religions and ages and education levels. Their commonality is an inner code of wisdom about what they stand for. I see the very best most loving and beautiful people all the time and they have all changed me and caused me to be a better person. Oh, there is so much hope and goodness in the world.
I say to all those who have little ones at home. Day to day you are shaping your child's values. Every day they are sponges. So live your best and most loving life and treat them like the wisest little sages you ever met. Discuss things with them. Get their opinions on things. And very early, let them make decisions for themselves. Ask them what they think they should do before you give advice. You are simply providing them with a loving nest to grow in. They have to be able to think for themselves and know who they are and that comes with being trusted to make decisions at an early age. Respect them. Speak to them as politely as you would your most treasured friend. See them as wise and knowing. See the best in them. Talk about their goodness to others. They are here to teach you, truly.
I am glad I did not have a cell phone to distract me when my boys were little. I am glad we did not have a TV in the car so that my 4 year old son was actually looking out the window and noticing and thinking as we drove one day. So he saw the people picketing and he asked me what the signs said. Then he wanted to know what abortion was, and so I told him, and once he heard the definition I asked him what he thought about it... and my 4 year old taught me some things from his purity of thought. Those times are the sacred times of parenting. Is there enough time and quiet in your life, enough space, for times like these? I so hope there is.
“To be mature you have to realize what you value most. It is extraordinary to discover that comparatively few people reach this level of maturity. They seem never to have paused to consider what has value for them. They spend great effort and sometimes make great sacrifices for values that, fundamentally, meet no real needs of their own. Perhaps they have imbibed the values of their particular profession or job, of their community or their neighbors, of their parents or family. Not to arrive at a clear understanding of one’s own values is a tragic waste. You have missed the whole point of what life is for."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
So today, maybe we can build character. Cook together. Ride in he car together without the radio. Have dinner together. Talk. What did you see at school/work today that made you happy? Did you see anyone do anything you thought was nice? Can you think of something we could do to surprise Grandma? This happened in the world today, what do you think about it? What do you think you would do if you were there?
Do you know what my greatest gift right now is? That my three sons are three of the loveliest people I know. That other people tell me the same thing, how wonderful they are. I never tire of it. They are adults, and out in the world, and making the world a better place. Do everything you can right now, to treat yourself to that.