Anyone Can Be A Hero
To my future child,
There are so many things I don’t know about you. I don’t know how you’ll look, speak, or giggle. I don’t know your fears or favorite foods. I don’t know what movies you’ll never tire of or what challenges you will struggle to overcome. (I sure hope you get as animated about little things as I do!)
I also don’t know if we’ll grow together first, with you in my tummy for 9 months, or if your biological mother will be gracious and allow me to adopt you as my own. You could come from a different country of origin than I, and you could have a rich background and memories of which I’m not a part. I wait in a balance of patience and excitement to meet you.
But while there are innumerable unknowns when it comes to you and your distinct personality and future life experience, there are things I know for sure. First of all, WOW, what a gift you are! You were no accident, darling. You are a unique creation with different strengths and weaknesses and precious little quirks that all will work together to help write your story. I do know your broad purpose, as well: you exist to reflect goodness and nobility.
I hope to teach you that anyone can be a hero.
What will you learn in school? Yes, I hope you are curious (even annoyingly so at times) and bright. However, will you read people’s emotions the way you read books in an effort to be a kind friend? Will you review your attitudes and behavior like you review notes in order to strive for integrity over winning? Will you study world problems as well as math problems for the sake of creating change for the better? What will you learn as you sift through your existence?
Truthfully, life is not always as wonderful as you see it through your eyes. There exist people, millions of people really, who do not know what it is like to be valued, only used. There also exist people who only know a desperate, vicious appetite for their own self-gratification, even if it comes at the expense of others. If you meet these people, the message they will try to send to you is that you don’t matter, but this could not be farther from the truth.
Your worth is in your very existence, and you ought to be loved and respected. This isn’t anything you can earn; it is not because of standards you meet or the way people see you. I hope that you will absorb this and let it free you. I hope that you will appreciate working with diligence but not let your achievements define you. I hope you will stand up for your own dignity as well as that of others, whether they are your friends or complete strangers.
Little one, I'm terrified of raising you. It is not only because I worry I will not be able to provide enough for you or because I fiercely want your safety (though that’s certainly true). This fear springs from my knowledge that you are powerful--you can make a real mark on this world.
And so much of who you are will at least begin with me.
I confess that I am not a perfect person, and I will make mistakes. I hope that you forgive me and that we will be patient together. I hope that you are better than me and also that you inherit a world that’s better than mine. I vow to do my best and not just as a parent. I vow to do my best as I pursue truth and that which is good and right for your generation.
At this moment I’m only twenty-one, in college, unmarried, and I have no idea what my life--much less yours--will look like in the future. I’m not even certain that you will exist. But I picture you in infancy, toddlerhood, grade school, and even beyond my own current life stage, and I have such big dreams for you. These dreams do not feature you as a famous doctor or making six figures in corporate America. No, these dreams are for the trusting relationships you’ll build, the encouraging words you will utter, and the vision of justice you will pursue to the ends of the earth.
We haven’t become acquainted yet, but I love you so much. It’s bursting from my very being! Ultimately, I want you to know that you are loved and were created to love--loudly and with boldness! It’s the best life to live.
This is one of a series of posts we have been doing of letters to the next generation -- whether that is our children, future children, nieces, nephews, siblings or our students. Part of advocating for justice is teaching the next generation why people are inherently valuable and important. We hope that this series inspires you to share the fight for justice with the children in your life that you influence. Thank you for doing your part to make this world a better place for the next generation to grow up in.
About the Author
Chynna Terrell is an ENFJ who will graduate in May with a degree in English Literature from the University of Oklahoma (boomer!). Aside from school, she serves as president of her InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter and loves to write and edit for the Dressember blog. And, why yes, she would love to have you over for a hot cup of tea, a puzzle, and good conversation.