Open doors, open arms, open thoughts, open hearts, open to challenging one’s ideas and ideals, open to new experiences, open to new ideas, open to new lifestyles and ways of living and ways of being.
It’s hard. Of course it’s hard; opening one’s mind to new anything is hard. Challenging your firmly-held beliefs is hard.
I had a conversation with some coworkers yesterday about how difficult it can be for someone to change their way of thinking when it comes from things their parents believe/have said/think. They didn’t think it could be, because they were able to look at the world around them when went to university or got older and were able to pick and choose their new ideas and ideals.
But I think it’s simplistic to say that it is as easy as they perceive it was. Not everyone has that willingness to challenge themselves, and not everyone is open to having their ideas changed.
I’m trying to teach my daughter and eventually my son to be open to other people being different, to feeling differently, to holding different beliefs and being respectful of those differences, but it’s hard. I fight with myself when I feel like I’m saying something that goes against what I’m trying to teach, and it keeps coming back to the idea that I want my children to be better than me. I want them to be smarter, to have more friends, to be more open and accepting of other people, and I want them to have happier lives. Not that mine is unhappy, but I just don’t want them to make my mistakes.
Which I recognize is idealistic of me; of course they’re going to make mistakes. Of course bad things are going to happen – that’s what life is all about. But I guess I just want them to know that their mistakes do not define them, they do not destroy them, and they most definitely do not destroy our relationship with them.
I am open to the idea that they will make mistakes and they will challenge me in ways I can’t even begin to image, but it’s hard to know and especially to accept that bad things will happen that I cannot prevent.
The best I can do is prepare them and equip them with the tools to take on those bad things, and I have to be open to the fact that I will still fall short.
But’s the best I’ve got.