My 3 year old's favorite song right now is "Close my eyes" better known as "A Million Dreams" from The Greatest Showman soundtrack. I, (like almost every other person who has seen the movie) am obsessed with the music on this soundtrack and have it playing almost constantly. The lyrics radiate with positivity and words that promote self-love and acceptance. Messages that this generation needs now, more than ever.
After hearing of the horrific shooting that took place in FL this week, I was, as I'm sure you were to, overcome with emotions. Sad, upset, angry, and powerless. Now that I am a mother I have this horrible tendency of imagining, "what if that had been one of my children" and for a brief moment my entire world stops, I can hardly breathe, and my heart feels the most dull and aching pain I've ever experienced. And then I realize that the scenario is just one that I've made up in my own mind and I am able to come back from it. To the parents who are still enduring that pain--my words won't be enough, but I am truly and deeply sorry. Change is on the horizon, I can feel the momentum. It can't bring back the lives of the children lost, but it can prevent more from being taken. (More about this change below.)
After being heartbroken for the parents who lost loved ones, my mind went to the shooter--and the lack of love he must have had in his life to get to that dark + twisted place. My heart aches for him too. I can't help but think "if he had only had the right parents, or people placed in his life, this all could have been avoided."
Following the sadness and heartbreak for those affected by this tragedy I became absolutely overwhelmed because, I have to raise my children in this world. This sad and scary world, where horrible, unthinkable things can happen. The responsibility can at times, feel so heavy and unbearable. In my moments of sulking and spiraling into a downward mental state, my sweet three year old's favorite song came on "A Million Dreams," I listened to the lyrics and my heart (and eyes) overflowed. The lyrics that hit home for me were:
...We can live in a world that we design
'Cause every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it's gonna take
A million dreams for the world we're gonna make
Following that moment of reflection, I was scrolling through social media and saw a video of one of my best friends' son (who is the same age as mine; 3) singing the same song to his mom. My heart and eyes were overflowing once again. With joy + happiness, but also a tremendous amount of fear because I realized the power that we have in raising this next generation. And the beautiful possibility we have to bring up the generation that will create change, promote peace, and inspire happy living. That is what I (and I think most of us moms of young children today), want for our kids and their future. I know, it's a pretty bold request: to change the world. But I think the way to do that is by implementing a very simple 4 letter word into everything we do: LOVE. Teaching our children through love is the very best thing we can do in this life. Teaching them to LOVE themselves + LOVE others. It seems cliché, but LOVE is the answer. I'm sure of it.
I'm pretty much obsessed with Oprah's Super Soul podcast and listen every week! I recently listened to her interview with Maya Angelou and my entire perspective on words was changed with just one small portion of their conversation. Maya expressed her belief that words are things, and words carry so much more weight than we could ever know. She told a story of a time she had overheard someone telling an off color joke at her party and she straight up asked them and their guest to leave because she did not want their words tainting her home. (what courage that must have taken!) Angelou believes: “Words are things, I’m convinced. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, in your clothes, and finally, into you. We must be careful about the words we use. Someday we will be able to measure the power of words.” From this I learned the importance of not only improving my word choices and using my words for love, but also how important it is to engrain this into my children starting now; at this fresh and young age. If we use our words for love everyday, and teach our children to do the same I'm certain we could make a change in the world.
Last night there was a story shared online by one of my favorite people to follow in Instagram Sadie Jane Sabin (@simplysadiejane). She shared an encounter that she and her 5 year old had while they were out on a mom + son date night (which okay, mom + son date night? cutest!) The basic gist of the story is this- her son, noticed that the man in front of them in line was wearing a really cool denim jacket and wanted to give him a compliment. He told his mom, and Sadie helped him tell the man how cool his jacket was and asked him if he was an artist. The conversation went on and the 5 year old boy expressed his desire to be an artist "just like you" to the man. The two (the 5 year old and the artist) continued their conversation over dinner (which the artist kindly paid for by the man in the denim jacket). He gave an art book to the young aspiring artist, and asked to keep in touch because he knew the 5 year old was going to be a successful artist one day! Following their encounter, Sadie received a message from the man stating that he had intended on that meal being his last. He had, prior to that meal deleted all social media and planned to take his life. He was in a dark place and her son saved him that night. The loving words of a 5 year old saved a life. Words + love are that powerful. "You have absolutely no idea how much you can impact a life...find courage in a compliment. Find courage in kindness. Find courage in the actions of your little ones."-Sadie. To read more about this beautiful experience check out her Instastory here.
Goosebumps? Me too. Yes, I'm sure many of us felt powerless following the nations most recent tragedy. And while we will mourn the losses felt that day for a long time to come, we need to see potential in the future. We need to envision it, and make it happen. Our children, love + words are so much more powerful than we give them credit. Fill your home with positive words and love. Start by playing The Greatest Showman Soundtrack in your home, or taking your children to see the movie. At risk of sounding like an obsessed fan-girl; I think this movie and it's message is the ideal role model for this generation. It teaches of love, acceptance, self-love, courage, and all the things are children need to make the changes necessary for this world. Take a listen, you won't regret it!
Now, while it would be nice to allow the weight of changing the world to rest simply on the shoulders of our children and the intentional way we raise them, that's just not enough. It's time that we as mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and mentors take the difficult stuff into our hands and encourage, demand, and fight for change. Moms Demand Action is a non-profit organization working towards every town for gun sense in America. If you are interested in learning more you can check out their website here.
Have differing views on gun safety laws? That's okay. This is not a place where I want to push my personal political agenda. But rather a place where I want to share ways that we can make a difference and make a change for the betterment of our society and our world. And if your idea of doing that is different than mine, that's okay. This is not a space for argument. Go off and make a real difference by advocating for your beliefs!
Words + Love have the power to change the world (and arguably, the Greatest Showman soundtrack too!) So here's to a better tomorrow, and the change that's on the horizon anxiously awaiting our beautiful + powerful children.
I'm a sucker for a graphic tee with a positive message! If you know me, you know I'm almost always sporting one. Lately, I'm loving the tees + messages found at Target. You can shop my favorites below! (PS-with the President's Day Sale happening at Target right now, some of these tees are as low as $2.99 with the online discount happening so HURRY + SHOP!)