Woke up this morning to the US Election results after my husband and I were up most of the night looking after our baby. Around 3am he mentioned the current poll results, I gave it a quick thought then went back to looking after our son and back to bed.
Now that I have had a cup of coffee, the actual results are sinking in. A quick scan of news sites and social media feeds from friends around the world reflect a common sentiment: disbelief.
Maybe it’s because I’m a ‘Mum’ now but my first thoughts were – what kind of world will my son grow up in? But after his recent 16-week injections, he doesn’t care about the current state of the world or this morning’s headlines. He just wants to be cuddled and looked after. So I’m focusing on that for now.
I came across a friend and former coworker from Ireland’s Tweet and thought it carried good intentions to remember:
Today, go to your library. Read books. Be kind to people you meet. Plant something. Create something beautiful. Be the phoenix.
Now I didn’t study economics, politics or much in the way of law outside of basic high school civics, social sciences and some post-secondary media law and ethics. But I do know that when I start to think of things on a large scale: my lack of control over the world in general and how it will impact our future as a family, it gets overwhelming. When you think about things on a smaller scale: what can I do today to be positive? Contribute? Give more than I take? It’s a lot more manageable.
I don’t know how today’s current events will shape our future but I do know the little things I do daily make a difference and will make small ripples if I let them. A few things I have learned from my older relations and their recent passings are that kind gestures do not go unnoticed. A green thumb in the garden demonstrates your love for life and sharing with others. Creativity and freedom of expression are gifts that aren’t always encouraged everywhere, but it’s up to you to decide how you use yours. Dancing, singing and laughter are always welcome – a ready smile can make others remember you for it.
So we will teach our son to be kind. Patient. Fair. Open-minded.
To laugh when he’s feeling joyful and to listen when others are not.
I know my husband and I are living our lives differently than our parents lived theirs, so what we teach our son may not inspire him to continue on the same path. But our small actions, best intentions and steadfast love are all we ourselves can control.
And when those don’t feel like they’re enough, there’s always ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!