My mom used to tell me, “Always leave the world a little better than how you found it.” That meant everything from picking up litter on the street to being a kind and generous person in daily life. Positive contributions were the measure of a good life.
I gaze at the two tiny blonde heads that are watching a cartoon in the living room. I hear my son inform his sister that, “This is the last show, okay?” as he sets a self-imposed TV limit for them both. They have no idea what is happening in the news around the world.
They don’t know that prayers for love and peace have gone unanswered and that hate and violence are dominating the headlines, hashtags, and hearts worldwide. The innocence of childhood will protect them from those horrific realities for a bit longer.
Our job isn’t to shield them from the evils of the world but give them the tools and knowledge to combat the evils when it is their turn. Right now, it is our turn to take up the fight. To combat negativity with positivity; hate with love; and violence with peace.
When I first became pregnant, I felt empowered—I was about to birth the next generation—a fresh start to change things for the better. My husband and I would make life better for our children. I strive to instill the same mantra of positive contributions in our kids—be kind, be silly, be playful. Be the best version of yourself that you can manage and that will be enough.
But I was foolish to think that I could have any impact on the larger scale. No, instead my impact is small, microscopic even in the broader scheme of things. I can only make life better for my two precious children. Somehow, that seems to be both not enough and all I can do all at the same time.
The #prayfor[enter city name] hashtags aren’t enough, and I ask myself, “What can I do to make the world a little better than how I found it?” and then I remembered that I’m not alone. My friends, family, and random people on the internet—they all want to make the world a better place.
We can’t do it on the large scale, but we can do it on the smaller individual scale. If each of us makes our lives in our tiny corners on this planet better than they were yesterday, then little by little, are efforts will become larger than the sum of its parts.
Be kind to one another.
Our children are counting on us to make the world a better place and we can’t let them down.