Letter: We need more homes, and more compassion

I love serendipitous moments; like when we were skiing as a family of five on my oldest son’s 22nd birthday, and at the top of Chair 2 where I always remember Todd Brown who when he left the chair would punch his fist through the air, eyes focused on the Mt. of the Holy Cross and say, “To life!”, I skied past one of the boys’ greatest ski instructors, still instructing with two little ones in tow. I pointed Nick out to her and looking at all the boys, she said she just couldn’t believe it.

I know how lucky I am to be able to ski 22 years later as a family of five, still running into former teachers and ski instructors and doctors — who, decades later, are still teaching and instructing and providing health care, committed to their professional families for life in our magnificent Vail Valley.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on family lately after my mother died in December, and through grief and in between celebrating my first birthday without her and my first Mother’s Day without her coming up. I’m lucky that my husband brought all my boys together, brought them to our home, for my birthday, knowing that’s what I needed. I’m lucky that I’ll gather with my sister and her family and my father for Mother’s Day.

It’s not really luck, though, that brings family together. It’s love and compassion. And a family isn’t always created by blood or partnership but more often, families are tribes of passionate, hard-working, committed human beings, who through love and compassion, thrive in healthy, safe communities and serve each other — and others.

My mother instilled in me a conviction that home is wherever family is; and I’m grateful to live in a community that has so many families. We just need more homes. And more compassion. You see, I think leadership grows out of love and is carried out with compassion; and love is built on those funny, good feelings coming from your gut. In a time of war, leaders don’t call for more war, they call for humanity; in a time of crisis, leaders don’t create further divisiveness, they use their voices to find common ground.

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As we head into May and Spring’s renewal, pause to let those loving, instinctual gut feelings come to life, and bring them to the table to find common ground with all that analysis and data that so dispassionately can drive an agenda. Celebrate whatever family you find yourself in, and support the families who sustain you. And in your decision-making, where you can be gentle, be more gentle.

Kristin Kenney Williams


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