My three year old talks about the world he will live in when he's "Big". Big people drive cars. Big people don't go to school. Big people have jobs like being a garbage "colepter" or blowing up balloons or digging big holes or filling cups with water.
Big people can go to the park whenever they like. Big people don't have to eat their dinner. Big people go out when it's dark. Big people go to bed whenever they want.
There is a utopia in his mind of what life will be like when he is an adult. He cannot wait to be out in that big world when he's Big.
But I can wait.
I am scared. I see the news and I'm scared.
I'm scared of how big the world is.
I don't know how to parent in a world that is so big. A world that is so scary.
I struggle with the small stuff: How do I get him to eat his dinner? How do I get him to stop running off?
There's the stuff you think is bigger but it's not. How do you teach patience? Resilience?
The big stuff, the biggest stuff, is this: How do you protect them and protect others?
I know more kindness, more love, less entitlement, less hate is what we're told. And those words ring hollow sometimes. I try to take comfort from them but it's so hard. How do we rise above slogans?
What can we as mothers do when the world is hurting? What can we as mothers of boys do about the fact that so much of the violence in this world is perpetrated by men in a culture of toxic and fragile masculinity?
This is not a post where there is an answer. It's not a post that ends with a cathartic laugh.
There's no joyous "me too!" There's no snark here. It's a call - of some kind.
A call to make a world where all of our children are safe and all of our children keep others safe. I'm sure that's what we need for this big, big world.
We need a big heart for this big world.
I want to pledge now that I will parent knowing my child is going into this big world and he will have choices. Choices to harm and hurt or to walk gently and powerfully with hope in his heart and love for others. I will parent knowing he is going into a world with your children too, that they need love and protection and respect. They need to be kept safe as I hope my son will be kept safe too.
I pledge to always hold your children in my heart too. To teach my children about consent, respect, and unity. To teach them about their privilege and how that fits with their place in the world. I pledge to parent them with peace and in kindness in the hopes that as they grow they treat others with peace and kindness.
I know I won't always get the small stuff right. But I'll try so hard to get the big stuff right. And in the face of so much brokenness, so much breathtaking sadness, what else can we do?
What else can we do except say, "Not here. Not my home. Not my children."
I will pledge to love not only my children but all children. I will pledge to make my home a home for all. I will pledge to do something that brings words to life and turns them into actions.
Keep our children safe and keep the world safe.
What else can we do when the world is so big?