My dear sweet boys,
Today our country has a new president. Every four or eight years a new one takes over the leadership of our country. This year, Donald Trump is our new president and this is the first time you have witnessed this peaceful transfer of power. While you might not be old enough to remember all that has occurred in electing Mr. Trump, I do want you to learn a few life lessons from this historic day.
Some people are celebrating today, while others are in mourning. Some people are excited and happy, while others are fearful and scared. People will always have different feelings. People will always disagree. No event will ever elicit the same response from all people. And that is ok. People are different. And, that is was makes life special. Your feelings are always ok because they are your own. Learning to accept and respect people who feel differently than you is a hard and, sometimes, frustrating thing to do. You must always try. People deserve respect even when they do not show you the same.
People will always have different opinions. As you form your own opinions, know that disagreement is natural. When you meet people with an open mind and listening ears, you will learn. When you listen with empathy and speak with respect, you will gain more understanding and you will grow. When you hear without listening or speak in a combative nature, you will shut down the opportunity to grow and will only become more rigid in your opinion, as right or wrong as it may be. I encourage you to always seek to learn and grow and pay close attention to the credibility of those sources.
It would be simple if life was reduced to a binary. Right or wrong and good or bad are not that simple. As you grow, I hope that we can teach you values and morals that will guide you to follow what we believe to be true. But, never be foolish enough to think that your view of ‘right’ is true for every person.
We hope that you learn you treat others with kindness. In both your words and your actions. As a Christian, you will be asked to love your neighbor, which will be a challenging task sometimes. People will not always be nice or respectful or kind to you. Even when you meet them with nothing but kindness. You will be asked to love them anyway. Not only will we encourage you to love them, we will teach you to show them kindness in return. That is called integrity and class.
Losing will be part of life. It isn’t fun. Sometimes it will really hurt. Disappointment is not fun. Even when you work your hardest, you may still lose. Winning is not everything. When you lose you are forced to look at what you did and find ways to improve. It gives you motivation and it reminds you that winning is not always the outcome. When you do lose, even when it makes you mad, you must be a good sport. You must show kindness to those who beat you. You must not blame others and you must learn from the moment and work towards the future you want.
My boys, you are privileged. You did not chose your race or your sex or the family that you have been born into. You will receive advantages based on these characteristics. Whether it is the way you will be treated or the opportunities that you may have or the situations that you will never have to question. And, although you did not ask to be treated any different, you must always remember that you are. This might make you feel bad or guilty. Those feelings are ok. What you must remember is that “to whom much is given, much will be required.” You do not need to feel guilty but you do need to feel compassion and empathy for others. You should speak up for others and you should be thoughtful in your words and actions. And, if you feel called to do more, you should work to dismantle the systems and the prejudice that exists in our society and work to create a better tomorrow. If that work isn’t what you desire, then at the very least, do not reinforce or condone actions that hurt or marginalize others.
Finally, my sweet boys, I pray that you always find hope. The future is what you make it. You have control of your life through your choices and your actions. Never let factors outside of yourself cause you to feel like you are not in control. You are not a victim of anything. Being a victim is a choice. You always have a choice. Systems and situations seems so much bigger than us. And, they are big and complicated. Always remember that what you focus on expands and when you dwell in the darkness it becomes harder to see the light.
Donald Trump is our president, imperfect and flawed, just like each of us. His choices and actions may not represent the values or expectations that we have for you. Being a leader is a hard job. Some people are more natural in these roles than others. Some people inspire others and encourage them through their actions and words. Pay attention to how Mr. Trump behaves and speaks. Make note of how he makes you and others feel. Learn from his example. And, remember, as the president he deserves our respect. As a person he deserves our love. But, as a model of who I hope you will become, he is not. Learn from this loss. Find hope for tomorrow. And, never allow hate to motivate your life.
We love you, sweet boys. We pray for you to grow up to be men of character, living lives filled with purpose and love. We pray for our leader because all leaders need guidance and support.
From Me To You