Being a Mom of young children re-teaches you the important lessons in life. I had a couple of those moments today.
First of all, my little boys asked me about Halloween. They’ve noticed that Halloween is associated with monsters and ghosts and scary things, and it’s been interesting trying to help them understand that those things aren’t real.
Carson asked me, “Mom, will you protect us from the mean monsters?”
I replied, “Halloween can have some scary things, but it doesn’t have to be scary. I work really hard to try and keep Halloween fun for you and not scary.”
He reiterated, “So you will work really hard to protect us from the scary things and the monsters?”
“Monsters aren’t real, sweetheart. But sometimes people pretend to be monsters. Some people try to be scary or do mean things, and I will always work hard to protect you. And what we can all do is be really nice people. What we can offer is just a couple more good, nice people in the world.”
I was so grateful to have spoken to my dear friend Ariel a couple of days ago, because, I had been lamenting about the same thing that my Carson was starting to ask about: why are there bad things? What do we do about the bad things? I had cried to my friend about feeling useless in this world, feeling so overwhelmed by the bad, the hard, the cruelty all around us.
Ariel so lovingly and wisely replied, “I have to remember to ‘lift where I stand’. The greatest gift I can give to the world is one more whole person, one more person creating positive ripples, one more person who will do her best to alchemize hatred and bigotry into love.”
Ah, I love her and I’m so grateful for her profound wisdom. There’s a little miracle there, that I had that enlightening conversation with her just days before I needed to use that wisdom to comfort my son. What he can do is be one more GOOD, KIND person in the world to brighten up the darkness.
He said, “Yeah. If I see someone being mean, I’ll just stand up and tell them to STOP!”
Oh how I love that brave, good-hearted boy. YES!
His heart quickly demonstrated that it’s even bigger, as we sat down for story time. The book I chose to read today is called “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes,” by Mem Fox. If you’ve never read it, it’s a sweet little rhyming story that illustrates that there are so many babies born in so many different circumstances, but they all have ten little fingers and ten little toes.
To end the story, I sang the Daniel Tiger jingle, “In some ways we are different, but in so many ways, we are the same!”
I told my babies that everyone in the world has different likes, different living situations, different clothes, different eating habits, etc; but we are all one human family and we all have a lot that is the same.
This topic has been heavy on my mind lately with the negativity rampant surrounding the upcoming presidential election. I am heartbroken about all the fear, anger, and prejudices that are surfacing lately. It’s everywhere. And I just want my children to remember compassion, remember to look at people as PEOPLE, all worthy of love, beyond our differences.
Carson was quiet as I explained this. When he finally piped up, his question surprised me. He brought up the page of the book that reads:
“There was one little baby who was born on the ice.
And another in a tent, who was just as nice.
And both of these babies, as everyone knows,
Had ten little fingers and ten little toes.”
“Mom, why do some people live in tents?” I could tell he was troubled.
I explained, sensitively, that some people don’t have good homes. I told him how lucky we are to live in a nice home that protects us from weather and such, but not everyone has that same privilege.
He lit up. “But Mom! If someone doesn’t have a home, they can live with us!! And we can keep them safe from the storms!”
Oh how I love that little boy. I told him that yes, we should always do what we can to help others, and offer what we have when someone else is in need. I was also comforted to be able to explain to him that our government and leaders offer programs that help those people in need. That is why we get to pay taxes and pay money to charities, because there are people out there who care. Just like my Carson cares.
I am grateful to be able to vote my conscience and have a voice to those leaders who care and are trying to help. I will happily contribute what I can to programs and organizations if it means my “neighbors” (figurative and literal) can have their basic needs taken care of. It means my friends can access needed health care. It means I can have a clear conscience when my preschooler asks me why people are suffering in the world, because I can tell him that we’re trying to help.
I have a perfect new nephew who was born this week. And yesterday, I got the opportunity to play and sing at a funeral service for a woman who lived a beautiful long life. Both of these events impacting me this week, it made me think. Think about the beautiful miracle that is human life. I think we need to find ways to celebrate that miracle. Before we throw the next jab at someone who we think is ignorant or foolish or, insert negative adjective… let’s remember that we were all born, not too long ago, as tiny perfect babies. And we are all formed and molded by the life events that happen to us after that moment.
I know that most people, regardless of their differing political views, are charitable, loving people. Sometimes the differences pose a complication as we are all trying to help and solve problems in different ways. I have my opinions as everyone else does. But whatever your political views, find a way to put charity at the head of your priority list. Find ways to be kind and respectful to all the other walking miracles around you. Love fully, love fearlessly, love graciously. Live your life so that when our children are troubled about the suffering of others, you can confidently answer that you’re doing your part to help. Offer the world just one more good, kind person to spread positive ripples. Remember that, beyond all of our differences, we all have “ten little fingers and ten little toes.” Celebrate that.