We live in America, land of the free and home of the brave, where all men (and finally women) are created equal. That was the idea, at least.
In America, we just want them to embody peace and love for all peoples and races, not anger and hate, and to denounce bullying, harassment and assault wherever and however it appears.
We just want them to grow up pushing for their own equality, to break through the patriarchal walls that have been so entrenched around us for thousands of years, but not at the expense of other marginalized groups, or even other men, along the way.
We just want them to be citizen activists of goodness and fairness, to help those who otherwise wouldn't have an opportunity to better themselves, or a voice to ask for one.
But we also just want them to be kids for now.
Because soon they won't be, and all these adult American considerations will eventually crowd out much of their childhood sensibilities.
God, I'm such a buzz-kill sometimes.
These are the things I think about, a lot, and I thought of all these things (again) this past week, especially after spending a weekend with lifelong friends and talking about toxic masculinity. It was the weekend of the women's march, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In the past we'd all marched together locally for these events, but this time I was with my friends, and then I worked on Martin Luther King Jr. Day while my wife took our two girls to the local march.
Like we'd done in the previous year, the girls made their own signs. Bryce's said "Peace" and Beatrice's said "You Dream Big."
We're an American family that, for the most part, have been thankful that we've provided a loving, supportive environment, as well as financial stability, for our children. Yet, we haven't had to look over our shoulders our whole lives like many people of color have had to do in America. We haven't experienced prejudice or racism like too many have in this country. A country of immigrants actually, by choice and by force, most of us at any rate.
We've talked to our girls about these topics, and they do have some understanding of what it means to discriminate against others because they're different. We're also the very people who can help make a difference, who's children can pass on a legacy of empathy and positive activism for all.
This idea of America is in danger, however. Blatant racism has again raised its hateful multi-headed hydra (although it's always been there). Women are standing tall, while unfortunately their rights are being rolled back decades when it comes to domestic violence and assault. White patriarchy is holding on with all its ugly might. And yet, my heart bleeds with endless hope.
We just want our girls to be kids for now. And safe. And to embody peace and love and dreaming big.
But this idea of America is in peril. This idea is impermanent.
This idea is so complicated. This idea is still celebrated.
This idea is a deliberate dream.
This idea is hated. This idea sets us free.
We the people, do ordain.
This idea, America.