What Our Kids Need From Us


My kids started back to school yesterday.  My middle son is a senior in high school, and my youngest is a fifth-grader.  It's hard to believe, honestly.  They're growing up so incredibly fast. 

After they both ventured forth for their first full-on, in-person school in well over a year and a half, I began reflecting on what it has been like for our kids since last March.  

They've had to attend school in some pretty challenging circumstances, jumping back and forth between virtual and modified in-person learning, dealing with the worries and anxieties that are such a part of our shared experience... and a whole lot more.  

It's hard to say what the long-term effects of this global pandemic will be for our kids, but it has affected them, changed them, and, in many ways, molded them.  

Just as it has changed everything for all of us.  

We're all searching for answers right about now.  We want to know how we can move forward into this emerging new world with courage and fortitude.  We want to know what to do with all of the feelings we might be suppressing---feelings of bitterness, fear, and worry. 

We want to know where to find hope for tomorrow so our kids can know peace, and inherit a world that isn't such a godawful mess.  

I think the answers to our longings can be found within us.  It's a simple idea, but it's definitely not an easy fix.  It takes faith, hope, love, and a whole lot of effort to bring a better world.  

Some might sum all that up to say, "It takes surrender..." and they would be right.  

You see, I have come to realize that the very best thing we can do for our kids is to become more fully engaged with the present and to do everything we can to project hope into the future.  

And in order for us to do this, we need to learn to live in gratitude and joy, which is a tall order when we're distracted by our own worries, and we lose track of our sense of hope. 

This is why we need to learn to surrender our outcomes, let go of our worry, and be set free from anger and bitterness.  

When we give up our need for control, we find the kind of freedom and lightness of spirit that can only come after we are overwhelmed by gratitude.  Steven. Charleston wrote about this recently: 

I cannot change the reality of pain or loss, but I can claim the reality of grace and joy.  Maybe I am just stubborn, but I want my last word to be not a complaint, but an alleluia. 

There is nothing that we can do to change what has happened over these past many months, but we can choose to live differently in this moment, right here, right now. 

We can choose to live in gratitude.  We can claim grace and joy as essential to the reality we long to embrace.  

This is what the next generations need from us right now.  

They need to hear us offer our praise and thanksgiving no matter what is going on around us.  They need to see us live fully in the present.  They need to know that we live in the hope that God is already in our tomorrows, waiting, preparing a place... 

May it be so for them, and for us.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  

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