The world has been spinning madly for nearly a year now. I suppose our lives were never truly in our control even before the pandemic struck, but it feels like whatever control we did have has largely slipped away, laying bare the existential state at the heart of being human.
To be honest, sometimes I shake my head at the dissonance between how I spend my days and how much devastation surrounds me in the world. I mean, I just created another coloring book about bearded dragons with my son. On one hand, it feels absurd, callous even, to be focused on such lighthearted fare…and yet, on the other hand, I also receive feedback about these coloring books from people who tell me that the books have brought some needed joy into their lives.
That larger question of “meaning” challenges me deeply from time to time, but as I wrote recently in My New Year’s Message for Parents Raising Bilingual Children During a Pandemic, I believe the best barometer of what we do—even when the world is spinning more madly than usual—is the authenticity we feel in those actions. In other words, does what I do feel authentic to who I am, to the expression of my truest self in this lifetime? Because when we do align our actions with that sense of authenticity, those actions, whatever they are, will always have meaning to us in the most soulful way. And that significance inevitably ripples out from our own small life to touch the lives of others, even when, as is often the case, we’re unable to witness the impact directly.
Now, if this can happen with a simple coloring book, it can surely occur, and in much greater ways, with the far larger action of raising a bilingual child. In other words, whatever doubts you may feel today, or tomorrow, about raising a bilingual child in the midst of this mad and marvelous universe, if this action feels authentic to you, then it has meaning—full stop—and it will consequently have meaning, too, for many others—starting with your own child—as the fruits of that action flow out into the world, even for generations to come.
Authentic action matters, both to ourselves and to our world. As imperfectly as it might be pursued, let this be our aim as we move forward into the next uncertain day of our lives.