Dear Children, I Apologize For The Behavior Of My Fellow Adults

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Dear Children,

I am so very sorry that many of us have let you down.  I am sorry that we disappoint you on a daily basis by engaging in the very behavior we urge you not to engage in.

From a very early age, we adults encourage you to share your toys, say please and thank you, mind your manners, be kind and respectful to others and to never to be a bully. We take you to church, socialize you and expose you to people who are different.  We teach you tolerance and acceptance and hope that you will grow up to be a kind and happy adult.

But in reality, we fail.  We ourselves don’t share.  We are demanding of others, we do not take accountability for our actions, we blame others, we are not kind or respectful to others and we do the bullying.  We model the exact opposite of what we want you to become, and for that, I truly apologize.

I apologize for the times we yell at your coach during your sporting event.  I apologize for giving the finger to a driver that forgot to turn on his signal.  I apologize for saying bad things about your friend Tommy’s mother.  I apologize for calling your teacher stupid.  I apologize for judging our foreign neighbors and the gay waiter at the cafe.  I apologize for encouraging you to always fight to get your way and to question all authority.  I apologize for making you think that you are entitled and owed the things you want.

I am sorry that you saw the mean things we wrote on another person’s Facebook page and for the heartless tweet we retweeted.  I am sorry you witnessed us threaten to sue someone because we didn’t get our way.  I am sorry that we are not the adults we are supposed to be.

I am forever embarrassed and appalled that you have to witness adults engage in insulting rhetoric toward one another.  Everywhere you turn, there is an adult not behaving like an adult should.  An adult with no respect for others and absolutely no civility.

I apologize with all my heart that you have to hear our elected officials, the very people who are supposed to serve us, engage in preposterous rhetoric and behavior.  I am sorry that they have made a mockery of a diplomatic and respectful process our founding fathers worked hard to develop.   I am sorry that even at the highest level, there is bullying.  I am sorry that you are being held to the highest standards at school and punished if you bully someone, yet the adults around you get away with it day after day.

I am truly sorry.

I can only hope that you see how the behavior we are engaging in, does not work.  That the wisdom beyond your years helps you recognize how flawed we are and that in spite of it,  you choose to follow your little kind and growing heart to be the person you are meant to be.  That you let your pudgy little hand reach up to the sky and grab the opportunities that await you.  That your developing eyes see no colors, no borders and no walls.  That your innocent and caring soul knows without a doubt that spreading love and kindness is the ticket to a happy and fulfilling life.

I apologize on behalf of all adults.

The What-Ifs

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Poor Bruce.

For three Saturdays in a row, he made up excuses for not going to the meadow to play with his forest friends.  After being asked by his friends why he didn’t want to come out to play, Bruce said, “If I come out and play, something might happen.”  When asked what would happen, Bruce’s imaginary what-if creatures came out of his head and clung tightly to his antlers.

“What if I leave my home and clouds come, and it rains, and I slip and fall and hurt myself?  Or what if I try to cross the bridge and it breaks and I fall into the stream?  Or what if I make a mistake playing a game and you all laugh at me?”

It had been many years since I had set foot inside the Children’s Room at our local library. After taking a walk up town today and listening to my bladder beg me for relief,  I decided to use the facilities at the library, which are right next to the Children’s Room.

One hour later, I was still in the library watching all the toddlers and babies reading with their care givers, singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider song, playing with the germ-infested toys that haven’t been replaced since 1965 and sitting comfortably in the very tired looking bean bags.

Oh, the memories.

Spending time in the Children’s Room for hours was my kids’ favorite pastime   It was right up there with going to the candy store.  The only disappointing aspect of their visit was having to limit the number of books they could check out in one day.  They wanted them all.

Bruce Moose and the What-Ifs, was one of our favorites.  I had seen it on display on one of the shelves and was intrigued by the title.  A book that talked about anxieties, worries and overcoming what-ifs?  Yes, please.  We read that book together on many occasions.  It was the go-to book when my son was anxious about the bees outside, the go-to book when my daughter was afraid to take the training wheels off and the go-to book when starting kindergarten.

Bruce Moose taught my kids to speak sternly to their what-ifs, telling them to leave them alone.  He showed them that the more secure they felt about themselves, the quicker the what-if creatures would disappear.  A “pop” sound would be heard every time a what-if was overcome. Pop! Pop!  Away went the worries.

I could not resist.  I looked up the book on the library computer system and saw that it was available.  It was waiting for me to check it out.  Right in the same shelf we frequented nearly 15 years ago.

As I sat on my couch reading it, I realized that I too needed Bruce to remind me how to handle the case of the what-ifs.  “What if I feel too lonely when the kids are gone? Or what if try something new and I make a fool of myself?  Or what if I am not smart enough to succeed?”

Thank you Bruce Moose, for your wise words.

Now 20 and 18, I cannot wait until my kids get home from their respective jobs today and re-aquaint themselves with Bruce  .