When I first set out sixteen or so years ago publishing content online, I did so as a naïve child, using what little of a homepage I could build to unite my chat room friends, to socialize with a few local friends via guestbooks, and to share a little bit about my interests.
The skills I picked up would soon be put to use in force when I became a Christian in the fall of 2001. I wasted no time in putting together website after website to spread the gospel of the conservative Baptist church of which I had become a member.
What began as largely static websites would blossom in time to blogs, message boards, and more, smaller projects than I care to try to count.
Much of what I wrote about was very abstract; I dealt with doctrine and theology, and I treated the world as if it were black and white — this is good, that is bad.
There was never a weight to my life, and I remained comfortable judging the world from behind my screen, disconnected from it all.
Nearly five years ago, my daughter was born, and though I’ve published on average of about fifteen to twenty posts per year since then, most of those posts come from the first year or two.
They were, despite no longer being written “in service to the King,” very much idealistic, dealing with the truthfulness of the Bible, the failings of Christianity, and so on.
As the years passed, increasingly fewer of my friends seemed concerned about ideologies. Gone were the debates I had grown accustomed to — did Christ die for all or only the elect? when should a person be baptized? how should a church be governed? etc. — having been replaced by folks with eyes turned secularly, toward the world around them.
Naïve me was not prepared for that world. A world where racism is very much alive. Where black people can be murdered by those sworn to serve and protect. Where rape victims watch as their assaulters go free.
What was once a world I could hand-wave away with some passing reference to the fall of mankind, content in the hope that was offered in Jesus Christ, had become a world in which very real people were grievously attacking each other, often for no good reason at all.
What was once a world I had absolutely no worries toward, being a “child of the King,” has become a world in which my own child must live.
She’s four years old, but folks — including members of her own family — are already pushing her into a sexual identity and concepts like boyfriend/girlfriend when she’s still not even consistently holding a pencil properly.
She’s four year old, but she’s around people who will tell little boys “not to be a girl” because they are afraid to do something; is my daughter something less because she is a girl? That’s the message that gives to little boys, and though it may not affect them much now, it’s part of a culture which allows children to grow up thinking “masculinity” is good and that “macho” things are strong and interesting while “femininity” is weakness and vapidity and “basic.”
She’s four years old, and she is my beacon of a hope in a world that seems to be crumbling around me. I admit, it pretty much has been for a good long while, but social media made it all “real,” it yanked me away from the abstract and opened my eyes to a world in which injustice was business as usual.
I’m grateful that I don’t really have to explain Ferguson or Charlotte or Donald Trump to her. Not yet anyway.
I have a window — a very small, ever-shrinking window — in which I can ensure that the humanistic values that our world so desperately needs are instilled into her.
She’s kind. She’s sensitive. She loves bugs! She looks forward to voting with me every chance I have to go vote. And she’s bashful, never fearful, of other people.
Not bad so far, though I can always be better. I’d love to hear how you’re preparing your children for a future in a potentially very ugly world. (And if you’re American, I hope that part of how you’re preparing the way for your children is by voting for Hillary Clinton in a few weeks!) Please take a moment to share your methods and ideas below.
While my attention has very much been toward her, I still share my thoughts on current events — and even still some more abstract topics — on Facebook, where I can dump some words and hit publish quickly, I’ve not yet fully abandoned this site.
There’s more to come, I assure you. Good things, I hope.