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What are we teaching?

’tis the season for back to school commercials!

My personal favorite…the dad skipping around Office-wherever, with a cart full of notebooks and colored pencils, singing, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

And some I like less well. Loaded with peer pressure. Subtle, sometimes, but pressure all the same.

Makeup. Sneakers. Backpacks.

“What the cool kids are doing.”

This color. That style. The way to fit in.

I wish I could say I didn’t get it, but I do.

Want to speak on stage? Rich solid colors. Classic but flowing. Sequins at night. (Or in the daytime if you’re really famous!)

Different rules for guys, but rules nonetheless.

It feels like wanting to share the messages closest to our hearts. To connect with our tribes. Really, it’s marketing.

I look at my girls, so different from each other and utterly amazing in their own ways, and I ache for the doubts they feel already.

The Perfectionist and Comparer inner critics running rampant. In elementary school.

I watch my dogs and think that one of the blessings of their type may be a lack of inner critics. And no particular interest in the cool colors for this year.

I would give that to my girls if I could.

For now, t-shirts with wise owls and the encouragement to “Be Different.” Delivered with huge hugs in just a few days.

Support for their unique gifts.

All my love for each of them.

Prayers that they’ll start to catch on before middle school when the stakes only get higher.

And the courage, however wavering, to walk the talk. To be who I am. To risk living out of the best wisdom I know. Out loud.

What else, really, do we have to give?

Showing up here with about 350 words on a day when everything is crazy and it still hurts to sit and type.

It’s me. The most me I have to give.

That is my hope for all our kids.

That they show up. Whole. Real.

Even when it’s scary.

That is my hope for the world.

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