A video showed up in my news feed on Facebook recently about a young teenage boy coming out to his mom as gay. The mother was accepting and understanding, and the whole thing made me cry, but not for the reason you would think. I cried because I could see how shaken and scared he was. I could see him tremble with relief after he finally opened up, but I could also see how scared he was to move forward from here in a world that has not yet fully accepted the differences among us.
This is the reason why my children are growing up knowing that love is different for each person, just as gender identity and sexual identity can vary from person to person. They are growing up with a firm understanding that love is love, and there is no right or wrong way to be, so long as you live your life in a way that makes you happy. They will have the foundation to grow up secure in who they are, but also to be the change that the world needs in order to allow others to feel accepted too. They are the future, and the future starts now.
When I buy my children bubble wands, they carry out legendary sword fights; dueling bubbles, battling blades. When their warrior muscles grow weak, they shed their armor and transform into mild mannered scientists. They spread their bubble mixture across the grass and sand, blending, mixing and creating potions filled with magic and wonder.
When I buy my children sandbox toys, they set them aside in favour of rocks and sticks; the most authentic and trustworthy of childhood tools. Their shoes are their buckets, their hands are ready scoops. They are the builders and masons of the future.
When I buy my children expensive toys, they quietly tuck them away in order to make room for the boxes that they came in. They discuss building plans and architectural style in earnest. They become engineers, planning, designing and constructing the bridges, towers and highways of tomorrow.
If I give my children mud, they will build a majestic castle. With water, they will create a magnificent waterfall. If I give my children nature, they will discover adventure, independence, confidence and a chance at the kind of childhood that will shape them into creative, grounded people. If I give my children the time and freedom to play, to get bored, and to be themselves, they will explore, create, plan and invent. Their energy is boundless; their imagination is inspiring. They are children, and this is what they want most of all. How could I give them anything less?