My husband said I was being irrational, an unpleasant side effect of watching far too many zombie movies. I worried constantly about bringing a child into the post-9/11 world. The twentieth century had altered the world so dramatically, and the 21st seemed to hurtle at breakneck speeds. Globalization holds such promise, but inspires fear and has led to a nationalism and xenophobia that I find unsettling. It did not seem fair to bring a child into this Brave New World.
My mother, always a voice of reason, told me she understood my concerns. But she also said “If you live in fear, you let it control you. Teach your children how to be good and promote goodness around them.”
Way to make it easy, Mom.
My family and friends know that I suffer from an incurable case of wanderlust. You know how it is: every so often your feet start to itch, you can’t navigate away from Kayak, you need to move, to see, to shake yourself out of the routine and toward something better.
Henry Miller once said, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
Maybe, just maybe, if I could teach our children to travel, how to be citizens of the world, they will learn to be kind and show kindness. They can learn to see this world in a different, far less cynical way. And don’t we all want our kids to change the world?
Cue the Kumbaya.
It hasn’t been easy. Jet lag, separation anxiety, delayed flights, Zika, natural disasters cause us to change our course often. But there has been wonder, too. I would not trade the wonder for anything.
When she was 18 months old, my daughter said to me, “Mama, I want to go on a ‘venture.”
Well, baby girl, I will take you on an adventure.
Preferably one without zombies.