I have spent the past few days struggling to absorb what is happening in our world. I consider myself to be an intelligent, educated person, but I am also a mother of three young kids. A lot of news slips by me. A lot of it is too upsetting to think or know about, so I stick my head in the sand and try to focus on what is right in front of me.
But when big things happen, the gravity of my lack of knowledge is apparent, and I scramble to catch up. I have spent time reading about the Syrian refugee crisis and the terrorist crisis and all of the other crises. It’s overwhelming: the issues and the problems and the sadness.
I don’t know what to say when it comes up in conversation because it’s all too terrible to put into words. I think of the mothers, mostly. The mothers and the children, because I am a mother and I cannot imagine traveling across the state with my kids, let alone crossing an ocean or living in constant fear.
I think of them when I tuck my children into warm, safe beds at night. I think of them when I put food on the table. I think of them when my own life seems hard.
I don’t know where I fall on the divisive issues, because I have no idea what should be done about any of it. I can’t pretend to know how to do the jobs of the people in charge, because there is no clear right answer on very much in this world.
It’s bigger than us.
People keep saying things like, “What kind of world will our children grow up in?!” A terrible one—it’s always been terrible. The fear is paralyzing if you let it grip you. We can all get sucked down a rabbit hole of terror, being afraid of what we don’t understand.
I do not want my children to grow up living in fear. I want my kids to be brave children who grow into brave adults. I want them to live breathlessly, to go for what they want even when it’s scary. I want them to live each day with gusto because we don’t know what tomorrow may bring.
I want my kids to learn to love people—all people, not just those who live on this side of the line of wherever we’re standing. Not just those who profess the same beliefs. Not just those who look like us.
All of the people.
Living fearlessly, loving others, standing up for what is right even if it’s unpopular—that’s bravery. I can’t do anything to turn the tide of current events because they are beyond my control. I can’t prevent terrible things from happening to the people who I love. I can’t wave my hand and make all of the awful go away.
But I can raise my children to fearlessly, fiercely, bravely love people.
That is the weapon of motherhood.