Be Brave, Courageous and Fierce
Dear future little one,
While my friends welcome new tiny fingers and toes into their lives, I imagine who you will be. As I am given the title “aunt” and “godmother” to the children of my friends, I smile thinking of what it will feel like to be called “mom.” And oh, I wonder who you will be? Will you be creative? Will I find you painting on every and any surface, including markers on my white walls? Will you be daring? Will you tempt fate and be no stranger to casts, bandages, and bruises with your daredevil stunts? Will you be outgoing? Will you start conversations with anyone and everyone and be the chatty neighbor in seat 34B? Will you be curious? Will I find you quietly scrutinizing books to feed your thirst for knowledge?
If you are all these things or none of these things, little one, you are so loved already. But all of this pales in comparison to my greatest hope for you.
I hope you are brave.
This world has shadows and hurt. Darkness and brokenness. Little one, I hope you do not run from it. Too many turn a blind eye. We glance over the ugly to see what we want to see. It hurts us so much that we choose to look the other way. We need brave little warriors like you, dear one. I hope that when you look into the darkness, you’ll meet people where they are. That you won’t be crushed by despair but bring light to it. It will be hard, but you are stronger than you know.
I hope you are courageous.
You will face opportunities for action or inaction, passivity or advocacy. When everyone else is silent or still, I hope you are courageous. Dear son, please stand for your sisters. When lewd locker room talk prevails, stand up against the normalization of exploitation. Be courageous and stand against the institution of the pornography industry, the demand for prostitution, the inequality between men and women in the daily. I hope your voice is loud and courageous in the midst of adversity. If you are raised to become anything and anyone, I hope it is someone of courage. Sweet daughter of mine, your voice is bolder than you will be told by the world. You are fierce and much needed in advocacy. Stand with your sisters and may your whole life be consumed with a desire for a transformed culture and attitude towards women and men.
I hope you are fierce.
With a light like yours, the darkness will fight back. Despair will try to wrap its grip around you until defeat wins out. You will feel small and inadequate. “Why try when the problem is infinite?” the world will shout. Inadequacy will yell at you, challenge your abilities and purpose. Some days, you will believe these voices. While as your mother-to-be, I cringe to imagine these attacks, these will also be the defining moments of who you will be. May these moments refine you and make you brave.
You are a warrior and your bravery is contagious. I hope you won’t settle for your comfort and your rights knowing that others battle for the victory of theirs. Complacency and passivity will be foreign attitudes to you because bravery drives away inaction. Oh little one, I wonder who you will be. Whatever you pursue and become, all my inevitable gray hairs and sleepless nights will be worth it knowing you are brave. You don’t know it yet but life is short and passivity toxic. My sweet child, I hope you will be a fighter and wear your advocacy in all you do. Being brave is more than our actions to come, it’s who I hope you are.
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
Sara Kernan is a proud Alaskan that now calls Southern California home (while trying not to melt in the summer). She is finishing her undergrad program this year and looks forward to this opportunity with Dressember to be an advocate of social justice on a different level. Sara can usually be found either drinking coffee or finding a new hiking trail with her husband and going on new adventures.