As you’ve gotten older, it’s been harder to deny: People can be awful. Institutions let you down. The world will break your heart.
There is such thing as evil. There is too much of it out there.
How do you raise kids in a world like that? How do you raise them when you have come to these inescapable conclusions? According to the beautiful poem by Maggie Smith, the answer is simple: You keep it from them. You don’t tell them about all the awful things or all the awful people.
I am trying to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
It’s not that we lie, it’s that we choose to focus on the potential. We don’t allow our cynicism to dampen their expectations. We don’t let our experiences color theirs—after all, we’re not going to be the one’s living in the house: They are.
Our job is to sell them on hope. To imbue them with a sense of agency and confidence and duty. A belief that they can make a difference. An obligation to be the change they want to see in the world.
You have to sell them on this. Sell them on the good bones. Sell them on what they can do with it.