I’ve read some brilliant things on the Web; from the helpful to the hilarious, there really are some gems. My problem is, however, that I scroll. I continue past the article and I read the comments. (Honestly , if you want to enjoy the Internet and retain faith in humanity, do not read the comments.) It often seems that no matter how heartwarming the story, how pure the intention or how humble the confession; somebody, somewhere, will take pleasure in tearing it down. For some people, it seems, can sap the joy out of anything; and apparently they all have wifi.
This is precisely why it took me a while to find the courage to write online. And why, despite the overwhelming encouragement, thrill (and therapy!) I’ve found in filling a blank page; I still worry that it’s not worth the risk. However; during this week’s most cowardly moment, something in our house caught my eye. It was a poem by Mother Teresa that I had adopted as a family mantra; an outlook on life that I want to instil in our children. For it’s the kind of outlook that will equip them not just to survive, but to positively thrive, in an increasingly negative world; the kind that will help them to hold their own in a goldfish bowl* and give them wings to rise above it. So, (as is my way with these things), I bought and framed the poster, hung it by the front door and…. Never looked at it again. This week, however, there it was:
I’ve seen it countless times, but in that particular moment it hit me. I realised that all of those things I hope and pray for our children; to love and be loved; to flourish in faith and be unshackled by fear; to thrive in their God-given gifts and abilities; to shake off all that could hinder them and grow confidently into the man and woman they were created to be … They all start with me.
I realised that no amount of mumsy prayers, inspirational posters or Snow Queens letting it go on the mountains, is going to teach them to live in that kind of freedom… If they don’t see it in me first.
If I can’t step out in faith and step up to my place, no matter what anyone else thinks about it, then how much harder will it be for them to find the courage to do it alone? It’s time to take seriously that call to throw off any weight that slows us down and confidently run the race set out before us (Hebrews 12); if not for my own passion, potential and purpose, then for theirs. Because family mantras take root exactly there; within the family. They start at home and they start at the top; trickling down to saturate the years with good examples, good experiences and good conversations.
So, whether you’re a parent or you identify in some other sort of way, I challenge you to join me in starting yours today.
* My previous blog post attracted a lot of messages from those who had unfortunately struggled with the pressures of growing up in a Vicarage/ goldfish bowl. This is a hot topic at college at the moment, as we attempt to preempt some problems and set off on the right foot. As usual, prayers and advice are always greatly appreciated!