I’m positive our second child was conceived the week before the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

By the time the results came in a week later I had two thoughts:

How could I bring another child into the world when I have such fear for the future?

How could I not bring another child into the world?

A few weeks passed and it became clear that I was indeed pregnant.

Now, over a year later, I have a joyful 3.5 month old baby boy and a nearly three-year-old daughter. Raising children is no small task. And each day I’m filled with awe and trepidation at the gift of being their mother. For both my children, I hope to impart some deep truths that will help them make a difference in this world.  

Being engaged politically is a must.

I’ve always been one to add my name to a petition or send off a generic form letter to my congressman or woman. I have my name on email lists for organizations doing the hard work of justice and peace and reconciliation. But since the 2016 election I decided I needed to do more. Now I still sign my  name to petitions and send emails, but my first course of action is a phone call. I have the numbers of my state representative and senators easily accessible. I share my opinions, and hopes, and dreams. I urge them to continue fighting for the values and ideals this country stands for – welcome, inclusiveness, tolerance, and free speech. Perhaps my children will end up in public office after hearing my voice calling Washington so often. Hopefully they’ll know the power of using one’s voice to speak for justice and peace. The power of using one’s voice for good. Hopefully they’ll know that this is our one world to live in and to preserve.

Always, dear children of mine, remember that you have a voice.  

Look for the good.

It’s so easy to get caught up in everything that is wrong with the world. It’s easy to place blame. It’s easy to not know where to start to make a difference. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But our eyes can focus towards the good. To light. To hope. To peace. To neighbors helping neighbors. To schools and churches crossing boundaries. To those who put their lives on the line for others. Looking for the good can be as simple as asking our neighbors what brings them joy. And sharing our joy with others.

Always, dear children of mine, look for the good and see it shining in your midst.  

Be the good.

Not only do we need to focus on finding the good but we need to be that good. We need to be hope-bearers and light-bringers and truth-tellers. We can proclaim peace with our actions. We can tend to our corner of the world lending a helping hand, bringing food to the neighbor, and teaching our children. Take every opportunity you get and bring good into the world. There is so much that detracts from goodness and hope that we forget we have the capacity to bring it into the world ourselves. That we can love wholeheartedly even when it’s hard. We can forgive relentlessly even when we’ve been hurt. We can show our neighbors who look and act and think differently than us that we care and want to get to know them.

Always, dear children of mine, be the good and you’ll light the world on fire.  

Listen. Listen. Listen.

You can be in relationship with people who believe and think differently than you. And you can still be friends. You can still learn from one another. You can still respect one another. Emotions and tensions ran high leading up to the presidential election and in the time following. But in the days and years to come, our neighbors are still our neighbors. The work of building deep, lasting relationships remains as important as ever. Take the first step, children, and engage in conversation. Even when you disagree. Especially when you disagree. Ask questions. Hear. Listen. Put yourself in their shoes.

Dear children of mine, remember that we’re in this together.

We’re in this together.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is a writer, pastor, wife, and mother. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Missouri. When she’s not at the park with her children, out in town, or tending to the garden, you can find her with a pen and paper. Or a good book. And a cup of tea. You can read more at http://www.kimberlyknowlezeller.com

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