November 7, 2012

Hope for my Daughters

She dressed in red, white and blue, brought appropriate reading materials, and charmed the woman at the front of the line with her rendition of the word indivisible.  We felt like civic-minded parents - taking our daughters along to vote.  We marveled at the thought that last time we voted for president we had no children at all!

And all day I've been thinking of things I want to teach them - hopes I have for them, specifically when it comes to this whole election process.  I'm writing it here, in part so that I can work on practicing now what I plan to preach to them in coming years.

Advice for my (hopefully) civic-minded daughters:

- Realize that you will learn much more by listening to someone who thinks differently than you will by hearing your own opinions endlessly re-iterated.
- Seek to understand more than you seek to be right.
- In fact, leave being right out of the equation completely, my dears.  It's a tempting, but damaging approach to life.
- Have the confidence to express your own ideas, the humility to say "I don't know" and the courage to change your mind.
- Make the world a better place.  Applaud and appreciate the efforts of all those who seek to do the same - even if their approach is vastly different from what you would choose.
- Respect all of the various viewpoints out there.  They may not be important to you, but they are important to someone.  (This goes for your politically apathetic friends as well.  Believe me, you will at times need respite from the deluge of opinions)
- Don't you ever demean or belittle anyone!  Public figure or personal acquaintance, it makes no difference.  People are people and Mom won't stand for bullying in any form.  Be kind my sweet girls; always be kind.
- Be aware of the limitations of each option.  There is no magic bullet, no perfect person, no secret recipe. 
- Foster a belief in the innate goodness of your fellow man.  Feed your optimism for the future - it's the only way we can continue on.
- I would prefer if you didn't automatically vote straight party line every time, but if that's your choice I will take my own advice and respect your decision.
- Listen, listen, listen.  More than you talk.  (It's hard and I'm terrible at it, but I think it makes for quality minds)
- Give people the benefit of the doubt and return love for hurt and criticism.  This may be the only way you have friends left at the end of a campaign.
- When you find something you believe in, tuck it close within your heart and live as true to it as you possibly can.  Just don't let it get in the way of practicing the principles listed above.
- Don't spit into the wind or eat yellow snow.  Do wear your seat belt.  Everything else will work itself out.

I am grateful to my friends who have shown an ability to express their own views articulately and sincerely.  I am grateful for people who are fair-minded and understanding and able to consider a different approach.  I appreciate the quiet voters and the people who love family and friends more than political affiliation.  I am grateful for my own liberties.  And I am grateful for the bright future I hope to help build for my children.

P.S. I'd like to take this opportunity to announce my candidacy for President in 2016.  I'll be heading up the party of Hearts, Unicorns and Warm Fluffy Feelings.

November 6, 2012

All We Need is Love - a gushing note that makes little sense

I drive away from my counseling appointment one morning, feeling so refreshed and excited about new discoveries I've been making.  Michael Jackson sings "Pretty Young Thing" on the radio and I crank it up, dancing as I head out of town.

I pass a pierced young woman with pink hair embracing her tattooed love on the sidewalk.

A few blocks later a lone elderly man in glasses quietly holds a sign. "Pray for the end of abortion" His eyes steadfast and full of loving concern.  In a community where his prayer is none too popular.

I think of the people who work in the clinic across the street from where he is standing - imagining the love and compassion with which they greet those who pass through the door.

Light streams down from the clouds, yellow leaves roll off the windshield and I think to myself:

There are so many ways to love in the world

These days I see love in those around me.  And it feels right to search for this.  The actions of others might look very different from the way I show my love - but I do not feel threatened by that.  In fact, I raise my face to the sky and say, "Thank you God.  Thank you for showing me love in a way that is different from my own"

I went on a little love-trip in my mind (in the absence of any recreational drugs, this was surprising for me, too) as I marveled at the different ways of being and how there is love in all of them.  I am grateful for diversity and curiosity and questions and the wonder these things bring to my life.

Speaking of leaves and love and life experience,
I forced my girls into a pile of leaves because I deemed it a necessary photo op of a happy childhood.
I don't recall loving piles of leaves as a kid and apparently Wren doesn't either.
Wren tried to enjoy the leaves,
but that effort was short lived.
A whole bunch of love from us to you.