To My Children. Here’s What I Can Do.


To my children,

I usually spend my time writing and sharing my thoughts about fitness, health, and travel. But after this weekend, after the horrible tragedy in Florida, I just couldn’t. All I can contemplate is how I can make your world better. But the reality is,

I can’t always keep you safe. I know that without question.

I can’t keep you from falling at the playground and breaking your arm (this I know from experience). I can’t keep you from getting your heart broken (which I know will happen someday).  I can’t keep you from learning about all of the danger and violence in the world.

And I can’t save you if you’re in a bar, or school, or workplace, and someone filled with hate decides to kill you.

As parents, we want to think we can. We all want to believe if we try hard enough, if we watch close enough, if we tell them to “be careful” a million times, then you will never get hurt. Maybe coming to terms with our helplessness and focusing on what we can do will help us all deal with yet another tragedy that has happened during your young lives.  So, here is what I promise to teach you to make sure you live in a way that brings happiness to you and to others around you. Here’s what I can do to make sure you feel safe and loved. Here’s what I can do to make sure you have a desire to make the world better.

I will teach you that your emotions have merit and that you can feel safe sharing them with us.

I will teach you that violence is never the answer. These attackers may have felt the answer to their problems was to take out their anger and hatred on others while taking their own lives (or knowing their lives would be taken). There is always another solution.

I will teach you not just tolerance – but respect. For everyone.

I will teach you that it is OK to get help if you’re feeling lost or depressed or confused. You can feel better. But you have to ask for help and accept the help that comes your way.

I will teach you love and the right way to show it.

I will teach you to be brave. There is danger in this world and it is real. But live your life without fear. Go to the club. Go to work. Go to school. Go around the world.  Live.

I will teach you to be smart and prepared. Know what’s around you. Know what’s safe and what’s not. Make the best choices you can but know that nothing will guarantee you are safe. So again, please live your life without fear of the unknown.

I will introduce you to people who are different from you. This means having you spend time with people who are elderly, physically disabled, mentally disabled, gay, straight, transgendered, loud and opinionated, quiet and shy, tall, short, religious, atheist, athletically talented, musically gifted, black, white, Latino, German, French, Afghan, and so much more.

I will bring you to explore different parts of our country and different parts of the world so you can broaden your horizons. I will do this over buying you the latest toy or tech product because Dad and I feel it is one of the most important things we can do for you.

I will teach you to look around our own community, to read books, and to watch movies that expand your view of what it means to be human.

I will teach you to respect the earth. I will also teach you that it is your responsibility to take care of it.

I will teach you to read and listen (and read some more) and then to form your own opinions.

I will teach you to keep hugging people. Connect to them however you can and show them you care.

I will teach you that politicians are just that. Politicians. They are people who know how our government works and try to keep it working. They are people who work for us and we can vote for them, write them, meet with them, and tell them what we want.

I will teach you that you can make a difference. The things you do can make the world, or the country, or our town, or your school a happier and safer place for everyone.

I will teach you empathy.

I will teach you that you are special, loved, and important. Today in the car I told you this and that I wanted you always to remember it. In response you told me the same and asked, “but what if you forget Mommy?” “Then you’ll have to remind me,” I said. “OK, I will,” you replied.

I only hope I can teach you how to remain as open and loving as you are today.



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Hello, I’m Laurie! I live in Exeter with my husband and two kids, am a co-owner of YOGASMITH, teach Health & Sport Sciences for Capital University, and always enjoy a good evening of surfing followed by a cold drink on the beach. Since childhood, I’ve found joy and strength in getting outside, being active and competitive, and seeing the world. I found my passion studying Exercise Physiology at UNH (go Wildcats!) and Health Education at BU. I spent a decade in Boston teaching others how to live healthy lives before coming back to NH. Thank God for the Downeaster Train that gets me back to Boston when I need a fix! Now that I’m a mom, I realize that the best thing I can do for my children is to teach them a love for being outside, staying active, exploring the world…and cheering for the Red Sox, of course.