Writing about our children and sharing it on the internet is a bit of a hot topic. Should we tell their stories without asking? Are we respecting their privacy? What about their feelings? Where do you draw the line? It’s a tough one.
Sometimes, when we’re writing about our kids, sharing their triumphs, talking about our failures, quoting the funny things they say, it feels like it’s all about us. It’s about us feeling better. Us looking for support. Us trying to be funny. It’s self-serving, in a sense.
But, at other times, I see the restorative power our story-telling has. I feel the connection. Children have this innate ability to make us all feel hope. Their outlook on life often offers us up a giant helping of perspective.
And right now, our world is in need of a little bit more love and compassion. More kindness and forgiveness. I feel like I’m this close to drowning in a sea of depression. I need to grasp onto something—anything—that will give me hope for humanity.
So I look to our children.
My daughter brought home her first-ever official report card last night. I gobbled it up, eager to see how she was doing in Grade One writing and reading. To find out how well she listens and behaves. It was all there—and I smiled knowingly at my husband as I read it out loud. But when I got to the end of the report, the words caught in my throat.
‘We’re learning about character in class. The kids chose a super power that they would like to have.’ her teacher wrote.
‘Anna chose kindness.’
Kindness is what’s important to a six-year old right now. This is how her beautiful little mind works. And, as wonderful and incredible as I know she is—I don’t think she’s unique. This is how most kids operate. They’re compassionate. Thoughtful. Loving. And their stories are worth telling.
Their stories are about a soccer team of 12-year old boys who offered hugs and words of encouragement to their devastated and tearful opponents after a game.
Stories of a little boy who moved his mother to tears by innocently explaining why we shouldn’t eat meat, because he doesn’t want animals to die. He ‘likes that they stay standing up. These animals—you gotta take care of them’
Stories of a four-year old girl befriending a widowed, lonely 82-year old man in a grocery store. A teen who developed an app that helps students find a friend to sit with at lunch. My friend’s 10-year old son who wrote on a school assignment that he would tell a girl who wanted to change her appearance, ‘You are beautiful how you are’.
And a six-year old girl who would choose kindness over superhuman strength or invisibility.
Their stories are everywhere. They’re in your children. Around your neighbourhood. They’re reminding us that the world is a good place. That there is much, much hope for the future. Reassuring us that hate has not won out. Not yet.
So, yes. I think they need to be told. I think everyone needs to read and share and talk about our beautiful, innocent, kind children.
Right now, we need it the most. Right now, we should write about our children.