Today I walked Patience all the way to her classroom… my big kindergartner. As I walked over to the teacher’s desk, my good little girl put her things away and started grabbing her materials in what must have been her morning routine. I love her so much. Today was such a big day – another one of those occasions that slip in so innocently but leave you reeling when you finally realize the depth of its effect.
The reason I had walked Patience to class was because today was the day she would be passing out invitations to her birthday party. My first baby, so big yet such a small little angel, is already inviting school friends to a party. My heart soars to see her sketching out her place in the world. But a piece of my heart breaks to let her go. It’s one more string that is being cut on her journey to adulthood, her journey to independence. I understand she is taking steps every other child must take, but how that part of me wishes I could keep her youthful innocence forever.
Patrick and I have guarded our children’s innocence fiercely. Our world is a demanding place and far too quickly so much will be expected of them. I believe whole-heartedly that their childhood should be a time overflowing with fun, laughs, and learning. It saddened me recently when Patience cut another one of her strings: when she learned about judging people based on skin color.
I believe prejudice is a learned behavior. I don’t know that I should judge someone’s looks until I’m taught that looks are important. And up until that day in school, we had managed to keep Patience unaware that people were judged based on the color of their skin. Her lesson in school cut that string for her and I don’t know that I agree it was the proper time. Patience came home confused and not understanding the message that was sent to her. Thankfully, I still don’t think she truly understands. I find myself wishing we lived in a world where she never would.
My ideal world recognizes that everyone is different, yet embraces and cherishes those differences, fully recognizing the importance of all. Some have the skill set to become the healers and builders of the world, others have the skills to paint the world with their kind words and warm smiles, and still others whose role is to nurture its growth with their love and wisdom. From top to bottom, each and every one matters because they contribute something, in a way not one other person can, because no one is the same.
More and more, I am beginning to feel like a fish out of water. I look around and see so much judgement, everyone looking to put someone down for something, sometimes even taking pleasure in doing so. I just don’t understand it anymore. I am human. I am flawed. There are a million different things that I could be better at, and about a million things that I will never improve upon. And I’m okay with that because I am not meant to be perfect. No person is. To expect that is nothing short of unreasonable, and to then judge another for the same failure is wrong to me… so incredibly wrong.
Every single person on this earth fails every single day at being perfect. Rather than looking down at each other for failing, why not embrace that we all fail together? We all have at least that one thing in common. We all have a common stepping stone. I dream of a place where everyone has recognized that common stone and used it to rebuild the world. I believe Ghandi said it best:
We need to be the change we wish to see in the world.
This quote speaks very loudly to me. I have been striving hard to be the person I want other people to be. When I look at people I try to really see them and to really hear them. I am free with heartfelt compliments about anything someone seems proud of. I help others always, sometimes at the expense of myself. I struggle and I succeed. I fail and I fall down. But ultimately, I get back up, brush myself off, and laugh at the spill I just took.
I do often feel like a fish out of water but perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe I am just the fish that jumped on the beach before the tide comes crashing in. Who knows? Maybe the world is in for an awakening of the most needed kind. I’ve changed myself, my life, and my love. Wouldn’t it be fun to change the world?