Oh sweet ones, there are many of you, some still young and many grown, who have crossed my path as children or young adults and live in my heart. I gave birth to two of you and “inherited” the rest of you. You are living in troubled times. This is not the first time in history this has happened. Sadly if the world continues to turn, it will not be the last.
I grieve for the state of things and the hateful ways we treat each other but I live in hope. I see in you people who want to make things better for the ones around you. Often I see you fighting for others and not yourself. You are of all persuasions, ethnicities, faiths and opinions. I have tremendous love and hope for you all. I urge you to avoid senseless arguments, in person and on social media. It is easy in the moment too resort to fiery speeches and shouting matches with those with whom we disagree. This is not a criticism of you. The passion of youth is a gift. I fear many of us lose the passion overtime but don’t mature in our behavior. That is on us not you. It is important to present your beliefs with thoughtful intelligence. Do not give in to anger. Anger robs you of so much including the ability to be heard by others. Let them walk away with food for thought and not simply angry soundbites.
Accept the fact that most of you won’t change the world. That’s okay, neither will the rest of us. Truthfully, most of the time you won’t even change the mind of the person you are talking to. That’s okay too. What you can change is yourselves. Your behavior is your choice. It’s a choice each of us has to make and live with.
My advice to you, even though you didn’t as for it is this. Work on a personal level for the changes you think are needed. Treat people the same, all people, even the ones you disagree with. When you return insult and abuse to those who behave in that manner, you just bought into their behavior and have become them, regardless of how noble your intentions are. Take responsibility for what you can. Vote. Contact your representatives. If you didn’t vote and are unhappy now with the outcome, accept that some of the responsibility falls on you. If you weren’t old enough, then stay informed and vote your conscience when you are. If you are concerned about climate change, make choices in you daily life to lessen your personal impact on the environment. Practical suggestions are easy to find. Don’t want a pipeline, reduce the amount you depend on crude oil products. You might not be able to protect someone’s sacred grounds but you can absolutely show respect for others and their heritage and customs. Worried about your local environment or social issues then volunteer with the homeless, collect food to feed the hungry, work in a soup kitchen, engage in cleanup and care of cemeteries, historical areas etc. in your area, plant neighborhood gardens, you get the idea. Absolutely take it personally by choosing to make changes on a personal level. This is how real change begins, when each one of us starts with ourselves and our actions. It’s not our job to force others to be better, to think like us, or act like us. It is our job to be better ourselves and show the way.