Let their inheritance be our hope


"“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”" - Mister Rogers

Do you remember what you thought about when you were seven-years-old? Or 11- or 16-years-old? What do you remember of your childhood? Of your dreams? Of your fears? What did you like to study in school (if you were lucky enough to be in school)? Can you remember your friends? How they laughed with you or dared you to do something, like tell someone you thought was cute that you wanted to go steady or whatever the saying was back then.

I especially loved English class in ninth grade, I loved my super cool raspberry flavored “Lipsmacker” on a rope that I wore around my fourth grade neck; I dearly loved the black lab dog named Duke who I could pet for hours and hours, lying in the grass down next to the fire hydrant. The neighborhood cemetery scared me in the dark, and I remember the tears of my best friend, Holly, when she fell into a big construction hole on our bike ride to school one day.

What do you remember? The sights, the sounds? I remember the smell of grass, for one. And, I remember my mother singing to me in the morning, trying to get me out of bed. I remember when my father made me my very own pair of brown leather sandals.

Try to remember what adults told you or how they were with you. What they exclaimed when you passed a test or failed a test, or swam or ran fast or slow or you cried over a scuffed knee? Did they laugh at your cart wheels or jokes or adventures? Sometimes, perhaps. Then, of course, they might have cajoled or even handed out a punishment, hopefully with the heart to teach you something, rather than to dampen your spirit.

I’m going to guess that some of your memories are “good”, some bring a happy feeling, some are fuzzy, some are sharp, some still hurt or make you mad, some warm your heart. My memories of when adults said, “I’ll help you” or “I’m here” or who laughed with me and gave me candy, like my beloved grandfather who stashed caramel candies in his car…..they are right there in my warmest memories, tucked into my heart forever.

Like you, I watch and try to understand things that happen in our world – television, the internet, opinions about this, that and the next issue, as we agree and disagree and agree some more. I come away with one little but growing idea….

We have a responsibility to say “yes” to our kids’ purest dreams – the ones that will bring good changes to our world, for all. We have a responsibility to say yes to kids’ desire for education, to kids’ need for safety, to kids’ need for food...but most of all, we have a responsibility to be hopeful for these young people.

Someday, when our kids remember, we want them to remember our actions of love, rather our words of fear.

Let their inheritance be our hope.

- Julie Keller