By Meghan Peterson, Ph.D.
The views stated here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff or other editors of this newspaper.
(Jan. 12, 2021) — One recent morning, I was taking a walk with my two boys; with Little Boy happily bundled in the stroller while Toddler Boy toddled alongside. All of a sudden, Toddler sets his eyes on a stick laying near the edge of the woods bordering the road and decides that it will make the most appropriate walking stick. “Mommy, a walking stick…it won’t even break!” he shouts in excitement. I laughed, delighted at his observation of and appreciation for a stick that not only would assist him on our winter walk, but one that in his estimation was, unbreakable. “Very good, son, and when the stick does not break, that means it is durable.” He looked at me with puzzled, inquiring eyes. I explained, “durability, honey, means the stick is unshakeable. It is sturdy and strong. It will not break on you when you need it most.” This explanation appeared to satisfy him (which, let me tell you, does not always happen with this certain toddler). He picked up the pace a bit with even greater confidence in the efficacy and usefulness of his newfound walking stick.
According to thefreedictionary.com, durable means “capable of withstanding wear and tear or decay” as well as “lasting; stable.”
As we walked back to the house, the idea of durability got this millennial thinking about her generation, town, state and nation. What will it take for us millennials not to succumb to fear, for us not to break in the face of danger, for us to be steadfastly courageous? What does it mean to take a stand for durable things like truth, freedom, justice, equality – even if it means we may receive ridicule, critique, or threats? In pursuing these principles, are we ourselves able to withstand the wear, tear, and decay that inevitably come with life and its challenges? As I usually find, sometimes the best answers are supplied by the Toddler. Perhaps we just need a trusty, loyal walking stick by our side during those cold winter strolls.