Hope - "the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best". http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hope
Optimists bank it, pessimists are bankrupt of it. Kids usually have it, unless they don't, but some kids lack it even if their families feel like there's no reason NOT to have it, while some kids drink shining cups filled to the brim with it despite having nothing in their lives that replenishes it. Hope is the fuel for the Porsche of Resilience.
Why do I care? Because though hope is a pill I can't prescribe, I know that I, as part of a child's support system, can keep myself (and help keep others) from crushing its fragile green shoots.
Hope is that thing that keeps people going in dire circumstances. How many kids have I seen with cystic fibrosis, Crohn's disease, cancer...kids whose parents have died, whose fathers have gone to jail, whose mothers have breast cancer...kids wandering around in the fog of Uncertain Diagnosis...who endure the hail and lightning with a grim "This too shall pass" or "Some day, it'll be better." Are these kids clueless? Are their families not smart enough to grasp the seriousness of the issues at hand? Usually, no...and no.
There are those who seek ways to "get through" to those clinging to hope in tough times. Deal with it with eyes wide open, they say. Gotta know what you're up against. No sense in clinging to the dinghy of hope in a Category 5 Hurricane. In fact, some people do prefer to know that 95% of people with pancreatic cancer do not live 5 years; others, though, shimmy up the flagpole to reach for that 5% banner. I can't predict which child or family fervently believes in the Promised Land, believes in those caring for them, believes in their own inner strength. I just can't imagine crushing someone's belief that things are going to somehow turn out okay, no matter how bad the odds.
In 1998, a movie called "Hope Floats" debuted. It's a bit of a corny flick, but the essence of the movie, and this post, could be summed up in the following quote, said by the protagonist's daughter:
"Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome. That's what momma always says. She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too..."
12 hours ago