Recently I was running around town doing errands and getting my shopping done when a lady I didn’t know engaged me in conversation. She saw that I had my kids with me and consequently decided to tell me a story that had happened not too long ago in the national news. A father had made the very tragic choice to end the lives of his family and his own. I’ll spare you the details (although this lady did not), but essentially the father did the unthinkable and as a result his family, for whom he should have been the ultimate protector, instead paid the ultimate price.
The lady’s point in telling me this, which she stated towards the end of her story, was to let me know what a terrible, scary world we live in and to inform me what a difficult time I will inevitably have as a mom raising kids in our current culture. Honestly, as I’m sure most parents can relate to, I wasn’t exactly grateful for her input.
For one, I was just trying to get my shopping done in the very narrow window I had with my kids before one of them needed to go potty (again) or they all started fighting in the shopping cart (yet, again). As is often the case when I’m out-n-about, I was on a mission and just wanted to get done with some remaining semblance of peace and order.
But secondly, I was incredibly annoyed that this lady took it upon herself to come up and tell me an awful story while my kids sat there listening in the cart. My first reaction was to challenge why she would relay all that in front of my kids. Didn’t she realize that those little ears hear all? And didn’t she realize that just because I had little kids with me doesn’t mean that I’m fair game for a conversation about the current state of our world and the tragic nature of life? I wanted to say in the most sarcastic and annoyed tone possible, “Cool. And this is helping me how?”
All those thoughts were racing through my head. But instead, I took a moment to breath and ponder how I could leave the conversation a better one for everyone involved. As she ended her story, she asked, “How could anyone do that to their family?”
After pausing for a moment, I answered, “He needed hope.”
It’s only someone in an utter state of hopelessness that could carry out what this man did. He had to have been wholly desperate and broken. And I’m sure his brokenness was related to not only a series of letdowns in life, but also most likely resulted from a number of other problems both psychological and substance abuse related that led to the heartbreaking consequences.
But ultimately, he must’ve felt like he no longer had any answers. No solution. No light at the end of the tunnel. No hope.
I went on to tell the lady that I’m raising my kids to be the hope for our world. That rather than lamenting the deplorable state of our current culture, I as a mom can raise my children to offer hope to the broken world around us.
Light shines brightest in the darkness. The darker our world gets, the more it needs the light that we have to offer. We can either live in fear and in hiding, or we can let our light shine (as the old Sunday School song says).
I believe there’s a reason I am alive at this point in history and I believe there’s a reason my children were born at the time they were.
While it is a scary world out there and one part of me dreads sending my kids off into it someday, another part of me couldn’t be more thrilled with the prospect. It is part of what motivates and drives me. It is my goal and desire to raise my children up in such a way that when they interact with the world around them, they leave it better. That when they engage in conversation, they leave it better. That whatever they touch, they leave it better.
Some may call that idealistic or even foolish, but I believe that’s my ultimate responsibility as a parent.
And it doesn’t have to be done in some grandiose way per se.
Right now my daughter Analeigh wants to be a baker when she grows up and my son Malachi wants to be a cowboy. I believe that even in those ways (and especially in those ways) they can be hope and light to the world around them.
It’s my job as a mommy to help them be the best they can be no matter what path they choose in life, so that, as a result, they positively impact the world around them and leave it better.
That’s my goal. That’s my responsibility. And I couldn’t be more excited for the crazy fun exciting adventure that awaits us in the years ahead. Time to shine!