It takes a “village” to prepare our tweens and teens for tomorrow. This past weekend, I stood and watched my niece and nephews pull out of the driveway into a new life on their way to a new country. I play over in my mind the image of my oldest nephew (age 16) saying his last goodbye, seeing the pain of his hurting heart as the door shuts behind him, tears flowing down our cheeks, the future unknown for them and for us. Not knowing when I will see them again, I ponder the question, “What kind of Aunt was I and did I have an impact on their lives? The reality is, I don’t know. But as my heart cries, I hope I did because I LOVED them like they were my own! We can’t control the forces of unjust, hurtful adults who can seem to change the scope of what our today’s reality is. But we can carry on with our day, with what we have now, and try to make sense of what happened yesterday.
We never know the impact we have on our young people’s lives. But I do know it takes a village to raise our kids today and I’m grateful for family and friends that partner with us, as parents, who are necessary to prepare our kids for tomorrow. It would be easy to build walls to keep our kids protected from the world around us, but isolation won’t provide the tools to help them make future choices. We live in a fast-paced, instant information and pressure-packed world. Our tweens and teens today are faced with a myriad of both challenges and opportunities. It takes “your village” of Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Youth Pastors, Counselors, Teachers and Friends to love, accept, teach, and guide our kids down the right path. To have those tough conversations about the important issues they face and to keep them safe. We can do more together than we can alone. We must work together, to look out for each other’s kids.
So as I ponder the question of “What kind of Aunt was I and did I have an impact on their lives”, I will continue to move forward with the “could-uvs, should-uvs and would-uvs”. I can always do better, I should always do more, but I won’t stop LOVING like they were my own! It takes a village to prepare our tweens and teens for tomorrow!