Today, many in our country reflect back to September 11, 2001, when the veil of safety was ripped from the eyes of everyone with a television. That was 18-years ago. The children born on that day are now adults. They can drive, they will get “grown up jobs,” and they can vote. They will also have to face life in ways many of us may not fully appreciate.
Our children are being faced with more difficult choices than many of us are used to experiencing in our own lives. They are going to schools with metal detectors, their teachers are being asked to carry guns to defend them against their classmates shooting at them, families are warring amongst themselves, there are open racial, social, and ethnic divides in our country, and then there are opioids. Another fact that we must face is that mental health issues and suicide rates have increased among children significantly. Those things individually or collectively could be the tipping point for anyone. That is why I pen this post.
When I was a kid, one of the biggest songs in our country was Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love of All. In the song, she sings, “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier. Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.”
This moment of 80s nostalgia is a reminder for me that children have always been the keys to life because in their eyes we can see the sum of our past as well as our future. If we truly believe this, don’t we owe it to our children to ensure the future we create for them is one we would actually want to live in now?
What I can tell you is this, no matter how many family law cases I have had involving custody of a child, I have never had a child be unbothered by the absence of the other parent–regardless of the reason for the absence. What we do and allow to be done to our children and to one another can have ripple effects through time. It’s time we show ourselves to be better stewards of the future. After all, in case we forget what that looks like, our children are heaven’s little reminders.
If we listen to wisdom of the children, I believe we can hear echos in time. Stop and pay attention when they laugh and find out what brings them so much joy. Look and watch for what they do when their mind is idle–they are discovering their genius. Listen for what or who they cry out for when they are sad–habits are being formed so we must explore the source of their discomfort. Nurture them and give them what is needed for them to grow up ‘big and strong’ like the sprouting trees they are!
I happen to believe children are our future! I just hope that their laughter can remind us all of who we used to be.