Our Kids Need Hope- Mind Your Words
Good times in America
Ugh. I woke up this morning with the weight of the world, I had a headache before I even got out of bed. I couldn’t tell if I was angry, devastated, afraid, annoyed, or apathetic- I think it was pretty much a combo of all of those feelings.
I did my usual. Made coffee, sat with my journal and wrote down all the things in my head, all the fears, frustrations, questions, all that stuff swirling around causing the sh*tstorm of emotion I was feeling. And then I just sat with the feelings for a bit. I let them have their vibrations in my body and I did feel a bit more clear headed after that. But only a bit.
I got up to start my day and I looked over at my teenager sleeping on the couch (for some annoying reason he’s made the living room his bedroom for the past few weeks).
I try to imagine all of this through his eyes. I try to remember my brain when I was 17 and how I pretty much didn’t think about the future of my country. I had the luxury of fantasizing about the names of my future children, or all the places I would travel, or how I was going to get around curfew so I could stay at the party all night.
But he wakes up to seeing him mom scrolling on her phone and hearing her say things like, ‘Our country is going to sh*t’.
Our kids are watching us.
They are picking up cues all the time, forming thoughts about how they should feel about their future.
What I’m observing happening to my teens is that they are not planning for a future.
They are looking down the barrel of climate change, a crumbling democracy, leaders who act like toddlers, insidious racism that’s been brewing in the dark corners of the nation rising to the surface, an educational system that’s imploding, a global pandemic, and a country that is very likely headed towards civil war.
I ask my kids what they want to do for their careers and they look at me blankly as if they haven’t given their future a single thought. What future?
We are in fight or flight. A country under threat. Hoarding supplies, stocking up on weapons, hunkering down plotting how to protect our property and our rights. Every man for himself.
That’s what survival mode does. It puts you in the state of mind of ‘what do I need to do immediately to make sure me and mine survive?’ It’s a natural function of the brain and it’s kept us alive for millions of years.
But it’s also a state of mind in which creativity, hope, higher thinking, strategic planning, unity and peacekeeping can’t exist.
Our kids are in survival mode too, but it looks like virtual escapism, substance abuse, withdrawal, apathy, and sleeping on the couch all day. It might appear they are oblivious, but trust me, they most definitely aren’t.
What message are we sending? ‘Your world is pretty much fu*cked, but go do your homework and clean your room.’
Why should they if we are basically speaking total doom over them?
Are we consciously offering our kids HOPE for their futures? How do we, when we feel so hopeless? What picture are we painting for them with our words?
One place I find hope is when I’m in a state of creativity.
We all have an innate creativity. It is our connection to life, our path to dignity. It is our ability to solve problems, see possibility, turn something horrible into something beautiful, find beauty in the ugliest of things, discover our own power, offer something of value, connect to our fellow humans, create something, see beyond the current circumstances, express our higher selves, bring light to the world.
Are we empowering our kids to tap into their own divine creativity so that they can create a world they want to live in?
Are we teaching them the power of their own minds to rise above seeming destruction and find solutions? Are we telling them, out loud, that they have everything they need within them to paint a better picture? Are we equipping them to trust their intuition, express their individual gifts, and offer the world their unique voice? Are we enabling them to IMAGINE the possibility of not just surviving, but of experiencing something better?
Are we believing that there IS hope for their future?
Words are everything. And they are listening to all of them, being formed by the things we speak or the things we have on in the background.
So maybe when we hear ourselves say things like, ‘this world is f*cked’ we can remember to add, ‘but you have the power within you to make it more beautiful’.
I’m going to have to be diligent to mind my words over the next couple of months.
I am choosing to intentionally hope, not just for myself, but for the sake of my children.
I’m going to have to breathe my way out of survival mode long enough to remind them that they can always create a beautiful world.
Since we literally have no idea what tomorrow will bring, we may as well paint them a good one.