When I was very young most of my childhood heroes wore capes, flew through the air, or picked up buildings with one arm. They were spectacular and got a lot of attention. But as I grew, my heroes changed, so that now I can honestly say that anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.
We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say “It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.” Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.
Confronting our feelings and giving them appropriate expression always takes strength, not weakness. It takes strength to acknowledge our anger, and sometimes more strength yet to curb the aggressive urges anger may bring and to channel them into nonviolent outlets. It takes strength to face our sadness and to grieve and to let our grief and our anger flow in tears when they need to. It takes strength to talk about our feelings and to reach out for help and comfort when we need it.
If you grew up with our Neighborhood, you may remember how we sometimes talked about difficult things. There were days…even beautiful days…that weren’t happy. In fact, there were some that were really sad.
Well, we’ve had a lot of days like that in our whole world. We’ve seen what some people do when they don’t know anything else to do with their anger.
I’m convinced that when we help our children find healthy ways of dealing with their feelings—ways that don’t hurt them or anyone else—we’re helping to make our world a safer, better place.
I would like to tell you what I often told you when you were much younger: I like you just the way you are.
And what’s more, I’m so grateful to you for helping the children in your life to know that you’ll do everything you can to keep them safe and to help them express their feelings in ways that will bring healing in many different neighborhoods.