Each year I pen a New Year’s letter to our kids. Here’s what I wrote heading into 2020.
My dear hearts:
Another year is filing out the door and it’s time for this letter. Two thousand nineteen saw great upheaval in our country, in our world, and 2020 will decide the fate of our president, and frankly, our democracy. The internet, conventional media and social media have transformed communication into a hall of mirrors. where cowards and dark forces can hide and shapeshift and remain safely out of range of accountability. Ethics has taken a hit. So has decency. No president of the United States should take swipes at a teenager who is crusading for a better planet, for less consumption, and for future generations. And yet here we are. Greta and Trump are reviving the David and Goliath story, and she is winning just as her Biblical predecessor did. In her case, her slingshot holds tenacity and intelligence. Her words, integrity, and passion are kneecapping the biggest bully in the world which is rather marvelous.
So what does this all have to do with us? A great deal. Isn’t amazing how many inspirational young people we have in our midst? Malala is one. Greta is the latest. You are part of this electric generation. Our new leaders don’t get distracted by their own reflections and just keep moving forward. We need to return to reason, to grace, to love, to science, and to inquiry and to decency and we cannot give up. And we will not stop fighting for a better future right alongside you.
We are so very proud of the people you have become but soon you will be managing your days without us. Frankly, the anticipation of an empty nest has us panic-stricken, a bit tense, and looking at puppies. You will make both mistakes and good choices and you will be fine. But throughout your passages you need to remember to see people, to treat them with respect and listen not only with your mind but also with your heart and instincts. We are all struggling to belong in one way or another. It is your job not to get derailed by the crazies and the gaslighters and it’s hard work to maintain compassion along with good boundaries. But you will.
I think this world is stuck on the fastest spin cycle and you have to be very deliberate and learn to slow down. Look around you and celebrate the arc of a tree, or the breeze, or the warmth of a friend. I hope you take up meditation. I hope you keep reading and that you reread this letter. I hope you avoid gossip and overly dramatic people. I hope you stay curious. I hope you understand that the phone is an addiction and filled with false promise. I hope you are surrounded by angels.
That said, there are constants in your world. Our love, my quirkiness, AND my nagging to put that phone down. Dog love. More love. You grew up in rarefied air, in a rarified community but despite the problems of privilege and the willful blindness that attends it, you have a group of people who really love you. Keep paying that love forward to those who deserve and need it and to this planet.
We adore you. Mom and Dad.