In light of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, I reworked an article I previously authored focused on the kindergarteners who started school this year. Children are our future. We need to realize their importance in this world and take our roles as adults more seriously.
The kindergarten class that started school in the Fall of 2012 will be the graduating class of 2025. Yes, you heard that right-2025. Only a few years ago I thought the year 2025 would have us flying around in personalized flying saucers like the Jetsons. Maybe we would even be more like Star Trek and beam ourselves where ever we wanted to go with the simple click of a button. As fast as technology is moving, we might make it there-at least with the flying saucers. However, it seems there is something more important we need to focus on-keeping our young people safe.
The massacre at Sandy Hook and the Class of 2025 has special meaning to me. My first-born is a kindergartener this year. The first five years of her life have given mine new meaning, and they have flown by faster than the Jetson’s personal space craft. When I watch and listen to her, I am amazed by her intelligence, creativity and ability. I wonder at her pure potentiality. What is she feeling right now? And, what does she want to be when she grows up? What will her life be like? It is my job to help my kindergartener on her journey. I want her to truly experience all life has to offer. Unfortunately, the children and school officials killed at Sandy Hook will never reach their full potential. Their lives were tragically cut short. Our deepest sympathies go out to the families impacted by this tragedy and others going through challenging times.
As a mother, I also feel like I owe it to my children to leave this planet in better shape than I found it. I question whether or not this is happening, and it gives me great pause when I think about her graduation day in 2025. Will her formative years have been wonderful and full of global advancement? Or, will her generation experience a dynamic global economic and environmental shift that takes humankind down a path of destruction and chaos? Will the world be safer and more secure than it was when I lived on this planet?
Kids today have words in their vocabulary I can’t help but laugh at sometimes. Their worlds are full of things like sanitizer and sunscreen. They are more familiar with the iPad than a coloring book and a Smart Phone more than the older rotary phones that hang on the wall. Phones are also multipurpose. They are cameras, camcorders, and things to play and learn on-plus, you can use them to see the person to whom you are talking. Even bar soap has become a novelty. My kids are so used to using liquid soap that they now enjoy the uniqueness of using bar soap.
There are also more ways for strangers and people to find our children. We need to rethink how and what we are doing. These are a few of my thoughts.
To my daughter, the Class of 2025 and all children, we older generations owe the following:
- Water in Both Quantity and Quality. Water has the potential to be the biggest issue of your generation. It is truly the elixir of life. Water should be there for you and the animals to play in and drink. It should also be available for you to grow real food, which is not something that comes in a box, bag or can.
- Healthy Minds and Bodies. Health is the foundation of life. Take care of your mind, body and spirit. They are all interconnected and should be valued and nurtured. We are just beginning to understand the mind-body connection. I have come to believe that our subconscious mind is a very powerful tool, and that our beliefs do influence our biology and our lives. The energy of your mind and spirit is very powerful. Use it wisely. Food is fuel, so eat nutritious foods to be happy and healthy. Move your bodies. Exercise can and should be fun. It will do wonders for you mind, body and spirit. Dance. Play, stretch, and breathe. Goof around with your family and friends. Get creative and enjoy moving your bodies and minds.
- Less sanitizer and sunscreen and more time in nature. Get dirty and enjoy the sunshine. It is actually good for you! There is no need to take vitamin D-just soak in the sun!
- Real experiences. Get away from the TV and the video games. Get out there and do things. You are connected to the world and must develop a global mind that values diversity, creativity and innovation. Exposure to different things expands the body, mind and spirit. There is much to see and experience in this world. Make sure you travel and experience what happens in other communities and cultures. There is a world outside of your home that has much to offer.
- Confidence. Your time on this planet is short. It may not always seem that way, but time will go faster the older you become. Define success on your own terms, and have the courage and confidence to pursue your passion and your dreams. Take risks, learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward. Let your intuition and personal fulfillment guide your actions.
- Privacy. I am so glad every second of my life was not recorded on Facebook, You Tube and other web sites. You are probably going to do stupid things. Realize that your parents and grandparents made a lot of mistakes along the way too. We just didn’t have every stupid move recorded and put online for everyone to see. You have to be a little more careful now. The stakes are high, and the Internet is forever. Use your gift of common sense when it comes to you and your friends. Don’t put your life on display for everyone to see and I will try to keep my parental bragging to a minimum.
- Opportunity Recognition. Realize that behind every challenge there is an opportunity. Sometimes when life or situations seem the most difficult, they are actually at the cusp of being the most amazing. Rather than staying mucked in drama, choose to clear your heart and mind and look for the opportunity.
- Responsibility. You truly are responsible for your destiny. No parent or caregiver can make your life great. We can offer strength, support and understanding, but you must ultimately take responsibility for your actions and your life.
- Our time and full attention. This is an ongoing challenge, but it is important for all of us to disconnect and truly be present with each other. This means we all need to put our phones and mobile devices down and focus on those few precious moments we truly have with one another. We need to be there for you while you put up that awesome hook shot at the buzzer in the state finals.
- Fun. Never underestimate the value of fun in your life. Fun is absolutely invaluable. It is foundational to creativity and innovation and is a wonderful stress reliever and relationship builder. Fun also keeps us young and is the fountain of life!
- Safety. Growing up in a small town, I took safety for granted. We must keep you safe from predators at all times. Major tragedies like Sandy Hook and Sandusky must be stopped. It is our responsibility to help you all be safe at school, in shopping malls, in movie theaters, churches and in your extra-curricular activities and families.
The take home message today is this: Live a fulfilling life with purpose and passion. Share your true talents with the world, have fun, and live your best life every single day! Be safe and sensible. Let us know-in any situation-when things are not right. Trust you intuition and let us know when things are not right. You should have great childhood memories and experience so you can make the world a better place. It is our job to help. We are expecting great things from all of you because you all have something positive to contribute to the world.
Thanks for your confidence and support throughout 2012. I am looking forward to serving you even better in 2013!
Happy Holidays From My Family To Yours!