It is the year 2021. My hope is that you are reading this and have grown to be strong, happy, healthy men. That you are respectful of all people. I hope that you model this respect not only with words but also with your actions and choices. I hope you are agents of change and pressing for progress in our lost world.
It is 2021 and we have been ravaged by a pandemic for over a year. Many lives have been lost and many more are living with the long-term effects of a virus that is continuously morphing. We are coming out of a presidential administration that has coveted power over people and vitriol over empathy.
As a result, the prolonged oppression of marginalized people has led to an outcry and spotlight on the disparity between the haves and the have nots.
My hope for you is that you have recognized your inherent privilege and worked to educate yourself and those around you about people who look different, believe differently, love differently, and live differently than you. I pray that you have friends that are not just from a myriad of different colors and backgrounds, but also from a spectrum of genders, abilities, and walks of life.
You have grown up in a crazy busy household with four children and at least one dog at all times. Each of us enjoys different activities, we each have different needs, and struggle with different issues. It is my hope that you all see your uniqueness and individual value and don’t compare that to the uniqueness and value of your siblings.
Most importantly, I hope you have gone into the world and recognized that everyone brings something important and special to the table. In the ultra-competitive, win-at-all costs culture that has taken hold, the world seems to believe that it is okay to step on the backs of others to get what you want or need. I am here to tell you that this is wrong. We are stronger when we work together. We are stronger when we bring together communities and when we value what each person brings to the table.
Throughout your life, your father and I have always been willing to pivot. We have homeschooled all of you at some point for different reasons and have found a path forward in all of life’s difficulties. We value education. Alongside that, we look to be reeducated. Learning lasts a lifetime. Continue reading, researching, listening, and be willing to pivot. Continue to seek people who will challenge your understanding and frame of reference. Remember, the winners write the history that is taught. Always question what you are learning and challenge the status quo.
Finally, your sister is a strong, seemingly fierce, and resilient person. She is tenacious and puts up a good fight. Being transgender in our society is dispiriting. Each of you has a challenge in life however, none of you have legislators proposing laws that will decide your access to medical care. There is no question if you want to play on a sports team, pee in a bathroom, or be who you are.
Your sister is a fighter, but she needs you. She will always need you. Your father and I never knew the enormity of our privilege until our perfectly made, kind, happy, beautiful baby girl shared her true identity one week after turning five. She is who she has always been. Never question her. Never let the people around you influence your opinion of her.
When people bully or ostracize you for standing steadfast with her and other marginalized communities, please remember my words. We are stronger together. Empathy is not weakness. You are unique and special and we can make a change. I love you.