Sunday, April 10, 2016

An Open Letter to My Children

Dear Future Son/Daughter,

Myself, and many others, grow up thinking that moms and dads know what’s best. And the more I grow, the more I realize that parents are people like you and me. They’ve had thrust into their lives this wailing, screaming human that doesn’t know how to eat or sleep. And even though you’ve never done this before in your life, it is your responsibility to care and provide for this little person. Along the way you learn things, likely out of just experiencing the day-to-day, and become familiar with your child and their quirks. And I’m sure that even these words that I write to you today will become obsolete in the coming years. But I wanted to say the following because I love you and feel called to.

I grew up in a tough spot. I didn’t have much to go on living in a home that was unstable and often times changing. Even though I didn’t have it nearly as bad as other kids there were still hard days. Usually I would go to school and come home to play with my toys. Other times I would go over to other kid’s houses and play video games, even the ones my mom told me not to play. All these days I would learn new things. Sometimes what I learned was difficult and it hurt. But each time I learned from my mistakes and from good times I became stronger. And I want you to be strong like I was.

I realize now that what we see, what we hear, challenges us. Some things are too much. (I wouldn’t let you play an M-Rated video game when you turned 6!) But when we face the world and try to understand it, with all its complexity, we become like a stone on the beach: well-rounded. Some people my age think differently. They think that if you hide the badness of the world away that you will be preserved from it. I think people think this way because they remember what it was like growing up. They remember seeing things they shouldn’t have seen or listening to people that they shouldn’t have. Out of love, when they become moms and dads, they want to spare you the trouble they went through themselves by hiding you away.

I grew up watching things that I shouldn’t have. I grew up listening to people I shouldn’t have. But, here I am: the finished person I am today. There are bad things in the world. Evil things. Sooner or later we will have to face them, and be strong. We have Jesus to show us the way. All of us were made by him, including the bad people. Even in the darkest places, his light shines. So when you see something bad, or listen to something that doesn’t sound right, remember that all things have a root in what has been created by Jesus. The world out there is worth it. And when you meet people, watch something on TV, or have a bad day, see the big picture: where things are at and where they will eventually be. The world isn’t perfect, but it still bears the image of God, and all over underneath everything he is there ready to redeem it.

So if you want to watch something on TV, watch it with me. If you want to play a video game, let’s take turns. If someone tells you something at school, let’s talk about it. We can face this world together, and with Jesus we are a threefold cord that can never be broken.