A letter to my children
First and most important; I love you with all that I have.
As we separately peer into what looks diametrically opposed, let’s review what we do agree on. Our connection matters. The care and feeding of relationship require contact and time and listening and compassion and effort. Freedom. The environment. Nutrition. Conversation. Humanity. Truth. Music. Passion. Art. Curiosity. Discovery. Family. All forms of life. Service to others.
When you were little, we wanted just a few things for you. These were health, happiness, fulfillment, the ability to explore your passion and brilliance, love for each other, the desire to seek and find your own truth, kindness. We did not require you to believe as we did. You called “family meetings” when things were not feeling right for you. We did not force you into a specific religion’s rules or our own beliefs. We encouraged reading, the arts, searching, exploration and discovery. We shared with you what excited us and showed you places where you could discover your own excitement. We did all that we could, with what we had, so that you’d grow up free and full before leaving us.
Today we are so very proud of the adults you have become. You are likable, funny, and creative. You love each other and are honorable. Family matters to you. So do people of all sizes, shapes and colors.
The reason for this letter is to address what I believe is the rhetoric you have come to idolize, more than critical thought. This confuses me. Words like “nonsense” and “these questions have already been explored” and “like to think you’re both smart enough to…” tell me that refusing to explore things that don’t initially make sense is okay with you. The anger and conviction embedded in these words breaks my heart, to be perfectly honest. Not because my feelings are hurt, but because you deny completely any possibility that you, or the person who has informed your opinion, could be wrong; calling any other beliefs fascism.
The definition of fascism is: “a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition”
We raised you free, with your integrity and self-discovery paramount. Yet somehow you accuse us of losing our senses to a dictatorial regime that aims to inhibit the values and practices we live by, and raised you by. This is opposite thinking, and if you remember the book by George Orwell, “1984”, which we read together, just exactly what he referred to here; “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
― George Orwell, 1984
I write not because you’ll read this, but because I’ve heard dozens of other parents express the same confusion, and so this is more than personal. We can call it a “generation gap”, yet this feels so very intense and intent on division. There is a purpose to your denial of what we hold as truth, and if purpose can be deduced from results, then the purpose served here is separation. There exists a hard line between us now. It was not there until these last several years, yet at this point it is written in indelible ink. You did not draw this line. I did not draw this line. Yet it has been calculatedly drawn.
I have never expected you to blindly believe all that I say, but I have expected you to consider it as a possible intelligent response to whatever is being considered. What is most disturbing in this current milieu is the quick, loud and violent denial of any answer other than the conclusion of someone whom you consider infallible. It is the labeling of “other”; black, Conservative, boomer, white ___. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message is being erased in today’s conversation.
“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
We’d hoped that you would define and color the world you inhabit. Remember how we used to say “Color outside of the lines?” We did not expect you to advocate taking away our right to color ours. This, it seems to me, is closer to fascism than questioning an election, which is the current line in indelible ink that has been drawn between us, and labeled as such.
Regardless of who is placed in the White House this year, we will be family. What I want, is all that I have ever wanted for you. It is unrestricted access to wealth, health, happiness, love, responsibility, and the opportunity for productive contribution to society. In a word — sovereignty. It is my belief, that there is an element in the government of this country that aims to prohibit that. They mean, instead, to guarantee their wealth and power without considering how that impacts yours or mine. This is the basis for my questions now. I say this, realizing that your belief is that the current President is the leader of that element. I do not.
I am filled with faith in humanity. These have been crazy times, no one will deny that. Your entry into adulthood is far more challenging than any prior generations has been. At the end of the day, there is an intrinsic feel to truth that resonates and is inclusive. Falsehoods restrict and deny, shut down and stand still. Expansion and inclusion are inherent in honesty and goodness. Restriction and control contract and inhibit growth. Life pursues growth. This country seeks evolution and to that end, truth will be the more successful option of the two.
At any rate, we’ll discover that truth at the same time. Bridges will need to be repaired as we all head into 2021. It is love that will carry us, not division. It is love. If unsure, head towards joy. That is where I will be.
I believe in you. I believe in us. I believe in love.