I think I have always tried to be the kind of parent that enjoys the smallest moments with my kids, the every day, even the bad day. Lately, that has become an obsession. There has been so much tragedy in the news, from our own small part of upstate New York, to the unthinkable national tragedy last week, to such sadness and violence all around the world in places like Syria and Iran and Afghanistan. It can become easy to wrap ourselves in a cloak of fear and want more guns, more violence, more madness. But there are places to look for the goodness in the world and in the wake of such profound sadness there are always so many more people with helping hands and open arms and feeling hearts. Instead of asking to start an arms race in our schools, instead of thinking the world has become an awful, scary place full of terrible people, I hope we can all turn off the news and turn off facebook and turn off the constant onslaught of opinions and information and remember that the world we live in is filled with honest, caring compassionate people. We can put down the fear and the anger and we can be kind and teach our children to do the same. We can love and sing and dance with joy in our hearts because we have this moment and the rest is never guaranteed. My daughter’s chorus has a mission statement, a quote by Leonard Bernstein that reads “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before”. In this season of hope, let this also be our collective response to violence. Play the music a little louder. Give your child violin lessons for Christmas. Teach them or yourself to play Chess. Invite your neighbors over. Play with your dog. Hug your kids and listen to them when they speak, really listen. Take these moments, even the tiny fleeting ones and keep them with you. Live this moment completely. Here are a few moments with my own sweet kids in my very muddy backyard with our pup Banjo.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,