I’ve been fairly quiet on social media lately, other than tweeting about the occasional silly, unimportant thing. It’s not because I don’t care about what’s really going on in the world, but because I do. I care. My heart breaks for the people who are hurting. For the brokenness in the media and in our country and in the world as a whole. But I haven’t wanted to add my voice to the fray when I didn’t have anything new to say.
Maybe I still don’t. But in this season of thanksgiving, reflecting, and rejoicing, as I read about protests and conflicts alongside the updates I follow in the world of children’s publishing, two ideas keep swirling in my head.
1. We really need diverse books.
We need them to be published. We need to buy them. And we need to read them. The surest way to understand someone else’s point of view is to become his friend. Maybe I can’t befriend everyone I meet in real life, but I can connect with characters in books. In a book, I can see the world through different eyes. And maybe that little bit of understanding can grow into a real-life change in perspective. And what better place for that to start than in books for our children. I’ve tried to write characters with backgrounds outside of my own experience, and I’m sure I’ve made missteps. But I won’t stop trying. For more information about the We Need Diverse Books campaign, click here.
2. The golden rule is a good first step.
I’m pretty sure I’ve said this sentence every day since my children were old enough to understand: Treat other people the way that you want to be treated. It’s such a simple thing, but oh what a difference it would make if we all really put it into practice. We all want to be loved, appreciated, and respected. And if we could just start to show those attitudes toward the people around us, I bet we’d see some big changes.
At Thanksgiving, my son found a W.W.J.D. plaque at my in-laws’ house and asked what it meant. Those letters, representing, “What would Jesus do?” were printed and worn on bracelets when I was a teenager. I hadn’t seen one in over fifteen years. I explained to my son that it was a reminder of how followers of Jesus should act toward ourselves and others. A week later, while going through my desk at home, I found a purple W.W.J.D. bracelet. I don’t know how old it is, or where it came from, but it was just another string tying my thoughts and emotions together. This year as I celebrate the birth of Jesus, I plan to try to honor him by treating others not only the way that I want to be treated, but the way that Jesus did. With grace, understanding, and love. And for more about what that means, click here.
Thank you to all of you out there, in the writing community and beyond, for being a part of my 2014. Merry Christmas.