This world that you are growing up in has a lot of violence. There aren't too many days that go by that I don't turn on the television and hear about yet another shooting. Some of the shootings are random and involve innocent strangers, and others are based on hatred or revenge towards specific individuals. There are shootings at schools, malls, movie theaters, gas stations, and more. A police officer was shot the other day because he stopped to help a stranger that was stuck in a ditch. That stranger pulled out a gun. It's scary, and it is sad. I find myself playing out scenarios in my head and figuring out what I would do to save us- to save you. I want to be prepared. The reality, however, is you can never be prepared.
Your world will include lock-down drills at school. This isn't something I ever did in my school days. We practiced earthquake drills, tornado drills and fire drills. Lock-down drills are something you will know, however. Your world is different. Perhaps the violence always happened, and now that we have information at our fingertips in a moment's notice, the violence has been brought to light. Perhaps the media focuses on it now more than they used to. Perhaps the world isn't any more violent than it was, but you will be much more aware of it than I was as a child. The reality is that the violence is different. It often times targets innocent people that are helpless and caught off guard. It is scary and needs to stop.
For that I am deeply sorry. I never want you to be frightened or live your life making decisions based on fear. So know this:
The world has more good than bad.
Daddy said these words yesterday, and they are very, very true.
We hear about the bad all the time, but we don't hear about all of the amazing things that go on every second of every day. Please never forget that the world has more good than bad.
Do your best to contribute to the good. Be aware of your surroundings, be strong, be cautious and intuitive, but be kind and helpful. Listen to your gut- it is ALWAYS right. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Smile at strangers and do kind things for people. Be generous and thoughtful like your father is. Know that something as simple as a smile or a thoughtful "hello" can make someone's day. You can change the world with your happiness and kindness. One kind gesture could mean the world to someone. Your simple act of kindness might be the difference of someone choosing to use a gun or not. You never know.
Kindness is a gift that you will always have to give. No matter where you are, what you are doing, or who you are with- you will always have this quality to share with yourself and with others. It is amazing how kindness spreads and reaches further than you ever imagined it could. When you smile at someone, they smile back. They smile at someone else, and that person smiles back....the chain continues.
Keep your head high and do the right thing, not the easy thing. Don't be kind expecting anything in return. Be kind just to be kind. I know you will learn from your father's example- he is always so generous and helpful. I hope that you also learn those things from me.
You might not notice the little things that we do for others at first, but one day I hope you look back on them and smile. I hope you will have learned to do those things on your own- and I know that you will. You are only 9 months old, and you are already so sweet.
When something bad happens, know that there are so many good things happening too. Focus on those and keep living your amazing life. Keep smiling, and keep the good going.
The world has more good than bad.
I love you so very much.