She’s not very good yet. But I tell her that if she wants, if she works hard, practices, dedicates herself, she can be the best ice skater in the world.
Maybe an exaggeration but, honestly, humans are a capable lot, limited only by our drive. Choose a passion, a skill and if you want to, you can excel at it. And isn’t there something truly beautiful about a person, doing a task really, really well? Be it ice skating or bread baking, passion is a gorgeous thing. So, we encourage her in her interests. Because we want good things for her, opportunities and success.
But what if I said, instead “Sparrow, if you dedicate yourself to it, you can be the kindest girl in the world.” Or “Mercy can radiate from you if only you’ll practice it every day.” Or “Love, Sparrow, can be your native tongue if you discipline yourself to speaking it every day.”
You may not agree with me, but I don’t think humans are intrinsically kind. Or loving. Or merciful. Look around. Read the news. Ask a war veteran. Evil comes far too easy to humans. Evil, more than love, seems our bent. And if this is the case, we need to cultivate new habits. Ones that go against the grain of human nature. Ones that see the value in all people. Because, though we are not intrinsically good, we are intrinsically valuable. All of us. Equally. And, what’s more, we are all equally (and intensely) loved by the God who created us. Oh, how He loves us.
All of this is to say that I am aware. I see that I need to teach my daughter to “do justly and to love mercy” because we don’t come out of the womb knowing how to do it. It is a skill we ought to clammer after. An ability we should strive for. An ideal we should throw ourselves at. We need to practice these things daily. On our children, our spouses, our neighbors and, yes, our enemies.
If Sparrow is an Olympic skater some day, wonderful. But if she loves mercy and justice, speaks kindness and truly loves her neighbor, she will have found a passion whose beauty cannot be surpassed.