MAN OF THE HOUSE | Concern for the future

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On Feb. 16, our first granddaughter was born. The emotions elicited that day — and in other national events in the previous days — made me think about what I would write in a letter to her. Here are some of my thoughts:

Dear Madeleine Victoria,

What a glorious, exhilarating day — your actual birthday! So many people had been waiting so many months for your arrival. Indeed, quite a few of us have looked forward to your birth for years. You're the first granddaughter on both sides of your family, the pink-clad apple of many eyes, including both your brothers.

You're a blessed little girl. We're already head over heels for you.

You've come into this world with something of a head start compared to most people who live on the planet — at least in my humble estimation. Your parents are good, committed, hard-working people. They have good jobs that will enable you to get excellent medical care, live in a comfortable house with your own bedroom and never go hungry. They value education, so you'll get a good one.

As for your brothers — well, there never will be a dull moment for you growing up! They are chatty and smart and full of fun. You'll learn all about Pokemon and Mario, SpongeBob and Harry Potter. You will get to watch them play baseball and basketball and soccer. Before that, though, they will hold you and kiss you and rub your full little head of hair.

Then there are your grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins that gather often whether it's a holiday, a birthday, or just another chance to feel more love than many people can imagine. I wish you could have gotten to meet your great-grandmother, for whom you're named, but count on hearing all about her through the coming years.

Surely in heaven, Grandma Madge will be praying for you constantly. Speaking of that, you're going to get to know about God, to hear all about Jesus and Mary and the saints.

Yep, you're really blessed.

Part of the reason we'll teach you to pray is that you and your future friends will need to lean upon your faith for more reasons than I care to ponder. Someday, you might research what happened the week you were born. You'll find that two days before your birth, an extremely troubled teenager shot and killed 17 people at his old high school in Parkland, Fla. — including seven just a few years older than one of your big brothers.

While I'm excited for you, I've got plenty of concerns about the world you now call your own. Many kids born in the 21st century, boys and girls not much older than you, are afraid. There have been eight intentional shootings in American schools that resulted in injuries or death so far this year. Since a horrid incident in Colorado in 1999, reports state there have been dozens of similar school shootings, with hundreds of victims.

"People my age are under attack," I heard one Parkland teenager say.

To be sure, it's time for this to end. No one seems able to agree on solutions, though. Maybe we do need serious gun control laws. Or do we give more guns to more people? We need better help for people with mental illness, especially for kids who experience problems well before they turn dangerous. Perhaps we just need to pay closer attention to how people behave and what they do on social media.

I have opinions but no real answers.

There are plenty of opinions, though, and additional theories. You have an intact, loving family; not a lot of kids will have that. You likely will grow up in safety, with access to any quality healthcare you might need. People will pay attention to you. You will learn about God and have a chance to develop a relationship with Him. More and more, people don't think that's important.

Yes, I'm excited about your present and your future. I'm also concerned. And I'm praying. We're all praying. Ignore the criticism of so many in the news; in the long run, prayer is probably the most important first step. St. Teresa of Kolkata once said: "I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and (then) we change things."

God knows we really need to change things.

Love you bunches,


Eisenbath is a member of St. Cletus Parish in St. Charles. 

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