As a parent, have you ever secretly thought to yourself that maybe it was wrong of you to bring your children into a world like ours? I have had that thought cross my mind fleetingly over the years, particularly when I turn on the evening news, or read the headlines of each day's newspaper. For a brief instant, I wonder if it was selfish of me to give birth to a child who will have to grow up in a world so scary and unpredictable.
I have been living in a prolonged version of one of those moments for the past few weeks, as we approach the first anniversary of the disastrous attacks of September 11th, 2001. In a world where such hatred and evil exists, how can the innocence of my children fit in here?
My children are responsible for bringing me back to reality just yesterday, as I watched them go on with their lives at a church picnic we attended.
I saw my daughter make a new friend, and play arm-in-arm with her for hours. They discovered things together, played side-by-side, sang and ran and laughed together, and learned from each other. Those two could have taught the world a lesson about the importance of making new friends, and enjoying the uniqueness of each individual.
My son also had something to teach our world yesterday - if you don't see a solution to a problem, don't give up! Frustration won't help, and neither will anger. Instead, use your imagination to explore new ideas and find a way to make it work. All this came from watching him progress from being bored, to moping around in frustration, to catching a fish with a contraption he pieced together from a styrofoam cup and a branch he found on the ground. He was so proud of himself and showed everyone what he did, even those he didn't know.
These are just two of the many reasons that I know parenting isn't a selfish act. Today's children will be the adults of our future, and they will be making friends AND finding solutions. As we've heard many times, they will help to make the world a better place. We shouldn't spend our days with our children worrying about the bad things that could happen to them. Instead, we should help them grow and experience all the good in the world. We should help them to be a part of that goodness, and to show them how to create more of it for the benefit of all.
Even more importantly, my children reminded me yesterday of the need to go on with our daily lives. If we don't, we are giving up and giving in. There are still many inventions for us to dream up, and many friends that we just haven't met yet. It's time to move forward, and to makes things better in the process.