A piece of advice I have never given a child is, “Don’t get your hopes up.” I actually struggle with the idea of giving that kind of advice to anyone. Why wouldn’t one want to get one’s hopes up?
I remember a time in my early 20’s when I met a woman, a professor, who had been raised with no hope for a better life. I was sitting in her class and she told me and the other students, that the difference between us, and the students she had taught for the bulk of her career, was that we had this hope that life would be better in the future. This took me aback and has stayed with me all of these years. I had never known anyone who verbalized this and then proceeded to behave without hope. I wondered how she carried on in life or earned her degrees? How did she decide to have babies and what did she teach them about their future? For me, these are all hopeful activities.
Hope is a verb, an action word and something that I practise. It is not an idea that floats out in the distance like in a Sandra Bullock movie with the same name, but something that I can latch onto readily. This year, when the kids tell me about a goal, endeavour or challenge, I’m going to say, “Get your hopes up!” And, I will mean it. I think I have always meant it.
I wish everyone a hopeful 2014!