For Maya

I recently did something against my better judgement. I disagreed with someone. I offered a different view. I did this on the Internet, a place where human beings seem to think that it is ok to say anything. Where they often forget that they are talking to other human beings, ones with feelings, and families and lives that they know nothing about. I know better, but I forgot.

Over the past couple of days I have been personally insulted. My child has been insulted. My parenting abilities have been insulted. The people who did so will say that they were not being insulting. Or they will say that I asked for it. Whatever. It is my own fault for forgetting the rule, for forgetting that I am supposed to surround myself with positive people, with ones who can lift other people up without needing to tear anyone else down.

Today I was fortunate enough to have a private class with a wonderful black belt from Brazil named Felippe. He spent our hour selflessly teaching me jiu-jitsu, moves that will improve my game, make me better. Not only that, but he did it with a smile. He enjoyed it. This whole hour class that was all for my benefit and he was still having fun!

It is so easy to let other people's anger tear you down, make you weary. Sadly it is sometimes the ones who claim to be fighting hardest for others who are the most draining. That is ok. Their heart is in the right place, even if their methods are not. People in need will still be helped.

I try very hard every day to not judge others, especially my fellow parents. Unless you are teaching your child to hate and to hurt, do your thing. Make your choices. We are all following different paths. I do not assume to know yours, to know your struggles or those of your children.

All children deserve to have a voice. ALL children.

My child took a test this week. She told me it was easy. Maybe it was easy because it is an easy test. Maybe it was easy because she is white and comes from two well educated parents who are lucky enough to be able spend a lot of time with her.  Maybe it was easy because she is one of the hardest workers I know, because she never stops trying. When Maya is scared (and she is often),  she takes a deep breath and dives in anyway. Sometimes she cries. Sometimes she struggles.  Sometimes she asks for help. Sometimes she wants to quit. But she stands strong. Always.

When Maya sees a friend in need, she helps. When her friends are sad, she hugs. Often when my child sees a homeless person on the street she bursts into tears and asks me if we can please, please give them money. She is sensitive, and loving and has a heart as big as all of Brooklyn. She is inspiring in so many ways and I am impressed by her constantly.

And yes, she is also lucky. As am I. These are things that I am aware of every single day and I certainly do not need a bunch of angry people on the Internet to remind me of them.

Here are the things I teach my child. To be kind. Always. Even when people are not being kind to you. To never give up on yourself because even if you cannot do something right now, it does not mean that you cannot do it ever. There is always a way to succeed, even if it is not the way your friends are taking. Find your way. And then teach it to others who cannot find theirs. That what you say is important but what you do is even more so. So don't just offer your "thoughts and prayers", DO something. It does not have to be what everyone else is doing. It just has to be what you think is right.

I try to lead by example. I teach. I volunteer. I show compassion and love. When I mess up, which is often, I apologize.

In other words, we are the same, you and I. We are trying to raise decent human beings, the best way we know how.

If you want to comment on this go ahead. If your comment attacks anyone, anyone at all, it will be quietly deleted. No arguments. Just deleted.

I forgot the rule but I remember it now.
Always surround yourself with positive people. Ones who are moving forward, upwards, and bringing others up with them.

Life is simple.
Peace, love and cross collar chokes.
That is enough. That is plenty.