Saturday, October 3, 2015

Inspire and protect through kindness and love

My oldest loves history and reading. So, naturally when he recently came across a book from the I Survived series about the a Nazi Invasion he was all in. If you're not familiar with the books, they are mostly historical fiction set through the eyes of a kid that lived through the experience. There are several in the series and he loves them.

Being that he just finished this book, I found myself in a car ride being grilled about what I knew about World War II and the Holocaust. I could tell that his head was spinning trying to understand how such terrible things could happen. <who's head and heart wouldn't hurt after reading such a book?> Our discussion quickly turned into his second passion which is engineering, and I started hearing about the inventions he's going to create one day that will protect us all from this evil from ever happening again. His creations will be the most powerful weapons, and will keep all people safe.

Normally, I just sit, nod, ask questions, and mostly just listen. But on this day, I had just read about Pope Francis' speech at congress in which he spoke of Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr (among others). I had also watched a video on Facebook of Pope Francis stopping his motorcade, so he could bless a child in a wheelchair <yes I got choked-up watching the reaction of the child's family>. I thought of this man that lives his life for peace and faith, and I suddenly found myself overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility to speak to my son's fears differently. I wanted to inspire him to think about protecting us in a different way. What follows is a summed up version of what came out that day:

Do you know that the Pope is in the United States right now? And that he recently spoke to the members of our government? And in the speech he talked about 2 other wonderful men that you've heard of: Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. He spoke about them in such high esteem not because they built powerful weapons, not because they fought the violent wars, but because they stood up for the freedoms and rights of others. They were proud men that fought for what they believed was right for all people. These men fought to protect the rights of others not through violence, but with reason and words. There are others too. Others that are famous for how they cared for the people around them. Mahatma Ghandi and our Mother Teresa fought to care for so many. They were leaders without having to create violent weapons. So, while I'm proud of you for wanting to protect our family, just continue being the kind and honest boy you are. Don't worry about creating machines to protect us. Instead, take care of us by loving us the best you can. Take care of us, by being the best version of yourself in as many moments each day as possible. And remember that there are men and women out there everyday working to protect us, so you can live the free life you have. We are blessed to be together. And when you're older, please go be the engineer you dream of becoming. Invent all you want, but always remember to fight for peace, love, laughter, and freedom for all. 

I have to admit that I was surprised at all that came out during my little speech in the car. And I think my son was, too. I hope that all of what I was trying to say was clear to him, and for the most part I think it was.

I admire true leaders and people who stand for what is right for all. The Pope's visit has inspired me to be more to my own family, to my friends, and to the school community I belong to. I find myself wondering how I can best inspire, support, and care for those around me better than I already do. Do I show kindness to all? Do my silent moments still inspire and encourage? Do yours?

Thanks for taking the time read, share, and follow my posts on The Teacher Dad. Use the comment section below to tell me about a time you were inspired by the actions or words of another person. What happened? What did you do?