They Can Make It Beautiful

We talked last week about the noble lie we tell our children. We round off some of the edges of life. We protect them from things. Then in the space between the reality of the world and the picture we’ve painted of it, we encourage our kids. We fill them with hope.

Why do we do this? Why do we try to “sell them the world” as Maggie Smith writes?

Because, she says, we are like real estate agents. We are trying to emphasize the “good bones” of this place we live in—this current state of things. But this is not just raw deception for the purpose of personal gain (like it can sometimes be in real estate). It’s much more than that. It’s deception for the purpose of empowerment. It is a way to remind our kids that they have agency, that their beliefs—about themselves, about the world, about their ability to create change—can become self-fulfilling prophecies.

“This place could be beautiful, right?” Smith writes, convincing herself and her children. “You could make this place beautiful.” And it’s true. Your kids can. They will. That’s what we’re trying to help them with. That’s what our multi-generational impact will be. We are selling our kids the world as it could be, and doing our best to give them the tools, the confidence, the sense of responsibility to make it so.

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