What motivates each of us is very different. The reasons we do the things we do, the reasons we are the person we have become, and the way people view us is very unique for us all. I realized many years ago that my own motivations could not simply focus on my own desires, there is more to my life than me. My parents, my sibling, of course my wife and my inner circle of friends, each of my actions is observed by, and judged by all of them.
Most of those I influence are adults, independent thinkers educated in the ways of the world and experienced in its perils. But what about children? My own two boys specifically, but what about all children watching the world, and the people in it experiencing and forming judgment for the first time. What do they see? What lessons do my actions intended or not teach them?
Our actions today form the views, beliefs and ideals of future generations. What they see, what they hear, and very often the things they do not all form their identities, and personalities. Sometimes with good intentions we shelter them from our thoughts, our worry, the things that children shouldn't be burdened with. But do we really do a good job of it? The look in your eye, the tone and pace with which you speak, what energy do you emit?
In our efforts to protect we might very well do more harm than we intend. If we don't take the time using words, carefully chosen, and thoughtfully presented words- then how will they remember us? Everything we do is a lesson to them. Did we explore, did we take risk, did we educate ourselves and them? What foods did we eat, did we exercise, who, and what did we prioritize in our lives? Would they see things in the same way that we see them, or would the truths they form in their own young minds actually exceed our own truths about ourselves?
As I write this our world is trapped in the grip of the virus COVID-19. None of us truly knows how this will end, or when, or even if it will end. Regardless of what the answers end up being, ask yourself "how will they remember us?". When those now ten become twenty will they remember the fear in your eyes, and your words? Will they remember the fear they themselves felt, and did they understand why? There are things in this world we can control, some we can only influence, and others completely outside of our control. Well within our control is how they will remember us, so take a moment and consider what their answers might be.
To the best of my ability my fears will fuel my resolve, and my unknowing will leave me with great hope. I will not presume dire fates, I will grab hold of the opportunities presented to me. Lacking answers does not mean gloom or suffering, it only presents you with the challenge of reflecting on who you are, how you will live, and how from their eyes to their lips you will be remembered.
BY Tim Weatherall