There’s no pretty way of saying it: the news is straight up horrific these days. It shouts of heartbreak and brokenness and terror and bullies of every age. I couldn’t count on my set of hands how many times people have said to me, “I’m just so sad this is the world I’m bringing up my babies in.” And I get it- I am there in the trenches with you, mamas. All the problems seem SO big and it can be so easy to disqualify ourselves from pushing against the dark. My little light? Honestly, it can feel useless in comparison to the wall of darkness I see when I walk out of the confines of my home or flip on the morning show.
But I think that is a boldface lie I am believing. A boldface lie – WE are believing. I think that is what the bullies desperately us to believe. I think its what fear uses to handcuff us and keep us scared and silent. I think it cripples us from living a better story. BUT (get ready for the hope) I believe in a better story. For us. For our kids. For our communities. And instead of making it complicated, I’ve come up with 9 ways we can write a better story. A more hope filled story that starts in the small and unseen. That starts at our dinner tables and pours into our kids and out our doors into our world. It’s not rocket science but I think it can be life changing. World changing dare I even say.
- Teach your kids about differences.
Let me pull you in and lets group huddle about this one. Our kids need to learn that people who look differently than them are not a threat. There is beauty to be offered in someone elses’ skin color, culture, special need, and social status. This world wouldn’t be the beautiful tapestry it is without the many colors of threads that it’s woven from. Lets open up dialog at our dinner tables and on the rides to soccer practice about people that are different.
- Stop saying retard.
That world makes our world uglier. And it hurts people I love. So please stop. And tell your kids to stop. And tell your coworker to stop. It’s a simple swap out that will alleviate hurt.
- Turn off your phone for a hot minute.
Our world needs more facetime with each other. And I’m talking about the old school look in one anothers actual eyes kind. Set a timer if you must for an hour a day and put that that baby away. I swear that when I do I am kinder, more compassionate, and more present. And actual life is happening in front of me that I miss out on when I spend my day scrolling.
- Open the door for people. Teach your kids to do the same.
I told you guys it’s not rocket science. But it sure is a day maker. And its becoming a lost art. Lets make it cool again.
- Go first.
Pinterest, instagram, and facebook highlights all our bright and shiny moments. And people are getting swallowed as they compare everyones highlight reels to their everyday. I do it. You do it. Its nasty. Nobody is talking about what they struggle with because everyone has perfected the art of hiding. But the world needs your bravery. The world needs you to go first. To share with a friend over coffee about your struggles so they have a safe space to share theirs. I think we are scared out of our minds that our hurt and brokenness is a threat to beauty in this world. But in my experience, pretending only builds walls that block the stunning work of vulnerbility and authenticity.
- Write a gratitude list.
I’m not just saying this because its November and pumpkin pie is on my mind. It works. It colors in my day so much differently when I stop and think about what I am grateful for. It forces me to pause in a world that tells me to plow full force ahead— and see the glory in the everyday. Its always there, somedays I just miss it because I’m not looking.
- Make a longer table.
You can take this literally— like get extra leaves for your table. Or figuritively. Either way, pay attention. There are people in this city who don’t know what its like to feel seen or loved. Who don’t have a friend or a place to call home. If you have abundance- share it. Volunteer at the Damiano Center, research how to become licenced for foster care, invite your neighbors over for dinner, become a mentor at the YMCA. This list could be a million miles long. But find something to do that makes your circle wider, your table longer, your heart more open, and your hands in the work. It will cost something, it always does. Time. Energy. Resources. But it multiplies back what it gives you in return.
- Love the socks off of your kids.
I have a sign that hangs over my table that says, “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.” – Mother Teresa. And I believe it. It starts in our home. When our kids confidently know they are loved and adored- they will walk into the world giving away love and compassion like it’s their job. I believe it with all I got. So speak life over them. And hope over their little hearts. And cheer them on like a crazy mom-leader. Because the tiny babies will someday not be so tiny. And they are watching you and learning from you. What a weighty honor and privilege.
- Throw a kitchen dance party.
This is bound to make the world more joyful. And make your kids laugh hysterically. And their smiles light up the flipping universe. So trust me here. Go turn on Uptown Funk on Kids Bop at a decimal that makes you feel like you may go deaf and go crazy.
The news may only get grimmer. And it may not always be as simple as Bruno Mars dance parties. But we can show up. And love. And see people. And laugh. And go first. And restore a bit of hope to our world. And pass it like its our job. Because, as mamas raising up the next generation- it really is.