Dear Kids, the world I grew up in is not yours…let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time there was a boy who rode his bike for miles and miles after school down winding streets, through woods, stopping at 7-11 for candy on the way home well after dark. Now he sits in silence gazing at a screen with X-Box remote in hand, talking online to random “friends” who he’s never met. He spends hours watching “You-Tubers” or “Googles” the answers to his homework online.
Once upon a time there was a girl who played dress-up, “House”, board games, hide and seek and kickball in the back yard. Now she Snap chats to keep her 500 streaks up, spends an hour editing a post to attain the most “likes”, and hides behind a screen as she texts hurtful words or comments because they’re “anonymous”.
I was that little girl playing dress-up 30 years ago, your dad was that little boy riding his bike through the woods. We were those kids that lived without fear, grew up with our neighbors and had dinner with our families at night. Nothing was perfect back then, we all had struggles and tragedies, we loved and lost, we had hope and defeat.
But today for you and your friends, this world is not our world, nor will it ever be. You are growing up faster than we ever did, struggling to balance a technological life with reality. You are witnessing first hand acts of terrorism, acts of evil…things we only saw in movies when we were your age. You must be wondering why bad things happen to good people, why there is so much hatred?
There has been more than our fair share of “bad” lately. Our country is divided on so many levels, evil acts are terrorizing people all over the world. People are tweeting, “Love will win”, “Love conquers all”. All good thoughts, and I truly hope love does win and conquer all. But in reality how do we make that happen? How do YOU make that happen.
I don’t know the answer to that question. But I can tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to put down my phone and lap-top, and stop watching the news. I hope you decide to do the same. I’m going to stop tweeting about love and go out in the world and do it. I’m not going to ignore the homeless man that comes to my window. I’ll make eye contact with people on my walk, smile and say hello. I’ll strike up a conversation with someone who looks like they’ve had a rough day, finding a way to put a smile on their face.
So go out and make someone’s day. Always be respectful, empathetic and kind. Chat with your friends face to face instead of Face Time. Let your voice be heard and stand up for someone in need and for something you truly believe in, even if you face ridicule or embarrassment. Show love and kindness to those who have hurt you, those that annoy you, those that anger you. Everyone has their own cross to bear, don’t let yours weigh so heavily that you can’t see into the hearts of others.
And if you start today and do this every day, then maybe, just maybe my land will be yours again. Remember, you can make a difference. Write this quote down on a sticky note and put it on your bathroom mirror. “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ~Mother Teresa
I love you guys,