It seems like there is a new tragedy everywhere we turn. School shootings. Marathon bombings. Massive plant explosions. Whole cities under lockdown. There is virtually no escape from it, with 24-hour news access, Twitter, and Facebook. We see things we shouldn’t – gruesome images from the Boston finish line and the dead body of a bomber on a cold metal table. And we can’t help asking ourselves what the purpose of it all is. I’ve known more than one parent to ask, “What was I thinking, having children when I knew the world was like this?” I’ve wondered the same thing myself.
I may not have a perfect answer, but I have the one that helps me sleep at night. I brought a child into this world because I am confident that there is good, and my child will be a part of it. So many of us are scared of where the world is going – and, if we think about it, where the world has been – that it is impossible to not be a little afraid of the future. But when I look in my child’s eyes, I am not afraid of what the world has in store for him. I know that the world will be a better place because he has been a part of it.
Sure, maybe not on the days when he wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, gets sent home for scratching someone too hard at pre-school, and throws his dinner across the kitchen instead of eating it. But most days? Absolutely. He is three-and-a-half-years-old, and every day Robbie makes my world a better place. His frantic racing to give his dad a hug and kiss when we leave in the morning. The patient way he talks to a scared animal. The powerful way that he assures me that I am his best friend – unless Daddy is around. My world is a better place because he stops to pick up and throw away trash, because he says please and thank you in public, and because he remembers when his Aunt Hilary is sick – and asks if she is feeling better yet until she actually is. He is making good on his daily promise to me that he will be a helper.
If he can reach the people that he knows, making their worlds better, I can only imagine the power he – and all of our children – will have when they are older and have larger circles to influence. They will not always make the right choices, but, at the end of the day, our children are good people who will grow up to be even better people. Perhaps our children will bring the end of disease and senseless violence; perhaps they are the change we have been waiting for. And that, my friends, is something worth celebrating.