Do I Offend?

I would not give this gift to just any baby. I wouldn’t because you happen to be born into a world where people have turned “taking offense” into a sport.

If playing this perverse game, you could score points by being appalled that anyone would gift a book containing ideas some people find loathsome. Depending on your competitive spirit, you’d push back on my consideration that a girl (you) might have a higher affinity for a book written by a fellow girl (Ayn Rand). Or one could take the other side and complain that Ayn Rand isn’t girly enough. To which a third person would shriek that there’s no such thing as “girly.”

Final score: we all lose.

Let me tell you, Katelyn, there are all sorts of verbal landmines waiting for you in the world you recently entered.

Sure, you can’t talk yet. But you will. And you will then see exactly what I’m talking about which is this: the world’s conversational charity is almost extinct. Intentions? Irrelevant. Ignorance? No forgiveness for that. Sincerely trying to figure out the world and knowing it’s easiest in honest conversation with others? Ha.

That’s the way people used to do it. Not anymore. Now, it’s you are either on the team, or you are might as well be dead. No room for questions. No room for inquiry. No room to change your mind. And most certainly, no room to ever, ever admit the other team may be holding even a sliver of validity.

Teams? Yea, I realize some of this stuff may be flying well over you six-week-old head. But you can appreciate that the general vibe is not positive, right? Thought so.

See, I try not to underestimate your capability. At my best, I remember that I can learn from anyone, and that everyone knows more than me about at least one thing. And that I might as well concentrate on those facts before slipping into desires of self-elevation by focusing on what those people don’t know.

Remembering to do this hard. That’s especially true when living in the current landmine infested world. We all, yourself included, are profoundly influenced by our environments.

Great news! (Phew. Glad you made it to this point. It was a calculated risk I took setting such a heavy and negative foundation. I took it because I wanted you to really feel the great truth that follows.)

Your parents, the creators of your environment for the foreseeable future, are not in the landmine business. On the contrary, they genuinely want to understand other people and make those people feel understood, regardless of team affiliation. Remember how terrible the world was in the first 362 words? Your parents try to build the exact opposite world. Seriously. They probably do it better than anyone I know. Instead of wanting to be right, they want to get it right. More important, they are just straight up interested in people, ideas and experiences. The interest is an end in itself – it never feels like an ego-driven enterprise. This will all lead to a judgement-free experience (except when your character should, indeed, be judged) where you are safe to fully be who you are, in all your imperfections.

It’s, I think you’ll find, the best way to live.