Dear Kids,

I’m writing this letter in hopes all three of you can block out a world screaming for your attention, even if for a few minutes. In case my time on earth gets cut short, I want to be sure you know what matters to me before society tries to tell you otherwise.

Because all three of you are young adults, the divisiveness of our country is not lost on you. As a nation, we no longer exemplify the privilege of standing together for the good of each other. For nostalgia’s sake, I looked up unity in Webster’s yesterday only to learn the word no longer exists. Turns out the editors over at the dictionary factory couldn’t agree on the meaning. An argument ensued, which ended with a decision to toss the three-syllable classic into the circular file.

Sigh.

Listen, guys, we live in a broken world. Humanity took a beat down pretty much from day one. Legend tells us the blame game started between the first two people on earth. A girl ate an apple from an off-limits tree. A boy knew she was in the wrong but couldn’t resist the juicy temptation and he also took a bite of the forbidden fruit. Then, when the apple grower found out and asked the boy why he ate it, the boy blamed the girl.

Not much has changed since. Millions of people make independent decisions every day, regardless of rules. When they get caught doing something wrong, they blame someone else. The result is a continuous charade of finger pointing. If you aren’t on one side of the argument, you’re purported to align with the other. Welcome to the second Continental Divide of the Americas.

Thus, we live in a splintered society filled with groups of people who don’t like or agree with other groups of people. Each group touts their platform of logic, belief, and understanding as the correct interpretation. Assumption and ignorance override contemplation. Taking the time to listen to one another with empathy is rare. Now, we form opinions based on third, fourth, fifth party information – with actual truth lost beneath layers of translation.

Life has become a battle of who screams the loudest, longest, and to the right people – i.e. those with the most power. Meanwhile, the beautiful intent of humanity – love and relationship –erodes beneath the rubble of discontent more and more each day. Our purpose in life is relationship – with each other and the world around us. Love makes the world go round. But as of late, fear has the globe careening off its axis.

As your mom, I apologize on behalf of everyone guilty of allowing our country to get to this spiteful, hateful place. I’d love to tell you I’ve had nothing to do with creating the problem, but I’d be lying. I’ve grown up a lot in the last several years and am the first to admit my shame in contributing to the mess. I’m different now. Humility is a dragon slayer. And I’m trying to better myself every day by practicing what matters most: LOVE.

I want you three to grasp the importance of doing the right thing, no matter how the rest of the world behaves around you. Our individual actions affect the collective spirit. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Therefore:

It matters to me that you’re kind.

It matters to me that you try hard not to judge others; being the best version of yourself is enough work for your lifetime.

It matters to me that you try your best to make a difference in the world, no matter how small.

It matters to me that you don’t walk through life with a label maker; attaching sticky tabs to everyone you meet.

It matters to me that you know you are a beautiful creation and take care of your mind, body, spirit.

It matters to me that you know how to give and receive love.

It matters to me that you appreciate nature because all creation is a gift.

It matters to me that you respect others even when they disrespect you.

It matters to me that you don’t define yourself by who others perceive you to be.

It matters to me that you don’t define others by who you perceive them to be.

It matters to me that you appreciate the value of human life – in every sense of the word.

It matters to me that you participate in the world from a place of love, that your heart always leads – not your ego.

It matters to me that you live your dream, not someone else’s dream for you.

It matters to me that you smile at others even on a bad day.

It matters to me that you believe goodness always exists, even when the media tells you otherwise.

It matters to me that you always choose to be the change you want to see.

It matters to me that when you stand up for what you believe, you do so without stepping on another.

It matters to me that you choose to be a good listener – not just a hearer.

It matters to me that you have a mindset to serve, not to be served.

It matters to me that you embrace your uniqueness and the uniqueness of others; “normal” is an illusion.

It matters to me that you believe in something higher than yourself and don’t take for granted the miracle you are.

It matters to me that you know without a doubt how much I love you – and that NOTHING can ever separate you from my love.

It matters to me that we all do one thing very well – be LOVE. The rest takes care of itself.

It matters to me that all three of you realize how proud Dad and I are of you. Because the above list represents all the actions you guys already live out.

Never stop. The world needs you.

Love,

Mom