February 16, 2018

You Are Loved...

I, like many of you, have been saddened by the school shootings in Florida this week. On a day that we are supposed to be celebrating the love we have for others, we are all combined in prayer and positive thoughts for those impacted. As I commute to the office I listen to NPR and there are several thoughts that have gone through my head the last few days. One is that it is extremely sad that school shootings are almost commonplace now. Another is of the bravery of the school's teachers and administrators, whom are paid so little for the sacrifices they make everyday in order to serve our children--some the ultimate sacrifice.

I would be amiss to tell you that there were a few times I became emotional listening to the conversations. One of which was a mother and her twin daughters who go to the school in Parkland, FL. It was heartbreaking to hear the girls tell about the fear and trauma from that day--a sentence you never want to hear your child utter, "...I thought that I was going to die when the door opened and there was yelling." Yet, the relief of the mother to know she COULD hear her daughter say that, and after a brief period of separation to be reunited.

I also was touched to hear of the people that put their lives in danger to save children. One clip NPR played of President Trump rang so true for me. Now, I don't support many things Trump does or says and this post is not meant to be political in any way, but I can say that in this one moment I completely agreed with him (or at least his speech writer). He said, "To all the children in this country, I want you to know you are loved. And that there are people who do and will sacrifice everything to protect you."

I could see in my mind's eye the service men and women, the policemen and women, the myriad of other public servants, including teachers who live their lives to help others. Then I could see parents who sacrifice dreams, time and other things to help their children and often do not refer to them as sacrifices.

Another mother on the radio commented that this experience helped her wonder if her children left her home each day knowing they were loved by her. My heart breaks for the families who have an empty chair at the dinner table that at the first of the week there was someone.

As I continue to think about it I realized I want to be the type of parent that no matter what, my children know they are loved. Yes, that means that sometimes they will need correction, but that at the root of it all, they are loved.

So, to you my Lucky Dragon and Koala Bear, this is for you, from me, your Dust--

If there is one thing that I want you to know that you are a Child of God. There is more power to that knowledge than anything that I can ever tell you. You have divine worth. You have talents and skills given to you from generations of ancestors to use and make life wonderful.

I want you to know that life will sometimes be hard, you will make mistakes. I have made them, over and over. But there are always people to help and nobody is beyond loving. When you find yourself in those moments of fear or problems, remember to reach out, in my experience there is always someone to help.

I love you more than you will ever know. I am happiest when you are happy. I hurt when you hurt. I worry about your future: what trials you will face, what hardships will you have to bear, what triumphs you will have, what joy you will experience, and what wonder you will create. My hope is that as parents we will provide you with the foundation to face it all with grace and fortitude.

None of us are perfect. I will make mistakes, you will make mistakes. But with forgiveness and understanding we can try to make it better. We may not always agree, but we can learn to celebrate diversity. We may not always want to talk, but through perseverance we can learn true charity. You may question the world or what I say, please do, in a respectful way ask those questions as it will bring answers that are right for you. Forge your own trail. Laugh, it has helped me get through the good times and the bad.

You are brave. Face challenges with the knowledge that you are not alone.
You are kind. Know that loving others with genuine charity will bring some of the greatest happiness to your life.
You are intelligent. Use that gift to bless others.

I love your hugs. I love your conversations. I love to see you excited about simple things in life. I love to become interested in the aspects of life you are interested in. I love to hear you say you enjoy being together as a family--and I hope you know that no matter what happens, we always will be that, a family forever.

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