They Can’t Take This Away

The world we are sending our kids into is uncertain. The economy. Climate change. Political unrest. Who knows what change technology will bring. Who knows what tragedies or dysfunctions or unfairness may lie in the future.

But then again, hasn’t it always been this way? Think of those mothers and fathers living five hundred years ago. Think of those living fifty years ago. They didn’t know that progress was certain, that the arc of history would bend in the right direction. All they could do was the best they could, all they could do was try to prepare their kids for whatever might happen, to focus on what they controlled.

One piece of advice that a young John Lewis got from his mother was perfectly aligned with this. “Once you learn something,” she told her children, “once you get something inside your head, no one can take it away from you.” The world could be cruel and unjust, for sure. There was much that would be outside her children’s control, but what they learned, what principles they absorbed, that was theirs forever. No one could take that away, no one would make them abandon that.

And so it goes with your kids and thus the task before all of us as parents. We must teach our kids, model for our kids, things that get inside their heads forever. We must give them the things that no one can take away–a good brain, a good heart, courage, creativity, fortitude. Whatever the future holds we cannot say, but this will serve them well…and no one can deprive them of the benefits that their brain and heart provide.

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