The first thing I read this morning was that 50 people had been killed, and 53 had been injured by a shooter at a popular LGTB club in Orlando. I didn’t have an overwhelming initial reaction because I’ve become quite numb to these news stories. It seems close to every election, every major decision-making time in our government, and any time an environmental disaster occurs in the world (oil spills, nuclear power plant leaks, etc) a shooter magically appears and reeks havoc on a city. I’ve often thought that this is all too convenient timing, but that’s probably just the conspiracy theorist in me. however, this blog is not about conspiracy theories, or mass shootings, or public outcry. This blog is about all of the beautifully innocent children born into this world of hatred, and what we, as parents need to do about it.
I have a daughter that’s growing up in a world where our differences are not celebrated, but hated. So, I felt saddened as I looked at my 4 month old daughter while she was napping this morning. All I could think was how I would be devastated if any harm was to come upon her for any reason. What if Emma doesn’t turn out to be societies view of “normal”? What if she is in the wrong place at the wrong time? What if she voices her opinion, and someone takes a stance of violence towards her as opposed to peaceful compromise? Any of these things could quite possibly occur at some point in her life, and this is terrifying to me. For it is out of my control, and that is a hard pill to swallow as a mother.
The most I can do as a parent is love her unconditionally, teach her to be strong in who she is, & show her that everyone is worthy of love and understanding despite their affiliation. Her values of society must start here at home. What she hears, and sees, from us will shape and mold her into the woman she will become. So, I have to start now, in my home, on my moral ground. My verbiage, and my actions, is what I am accountable for when raising my sweet young baby into an upstanding citizen. I knew that already, but it really hit me today.
Parents, I urge you to watch what you say about the people who are effected in attacks, and the attackers themselves. It’s so easy to spew hatred in the heat of the moment when debating amongst your friends and family over tragedies. But remember, small ears are nearby that are listening intently and absorbing all your words and all of your raw emotion. Unfortunately, we are raising children in a day and age where the wealthy are not held accountable for their actions, where women are still not treated as equals to men, differences in sexuality is highly discriminated against, race is still very much an issue, and religious affiliation can make the whole world rise up in hatred against a certain group. It seems we have many more negative, than positive, things to speak on. We must find a way to balance the reality and harshness of the world, while still enforcing that good really will win over evil.
Teach your children that there will be people out there with dark souls that will cross their paths, but they have the opportunity to be the bright light shining in a dark world. Teach them that no one deserves violence to be thrust upon them, and that love can conquer all if people take the time to try. Teach your children to be understanding to all cultures, religions, and affiliations because this battle we are fighting is not going to get easier. As social media/news/politicians evolve and continue to misconstrue information, and create fear based reactions to everything, we must have youth who are able to decipher the actual truth from the medias truth. It is imperative to our future generations. It is imperative to our survival as Americans.
It is up to YOU, parents, to be the change you want to see in future generations. It is up to all of us to raise our next generations to walk in love, peace, understanding, and diligence. No other way of living can be tolerated, or we will be standing with a future generation full of hatred and violence. And for that, we can not stand.
In 1942, Kentucky (where I grew up) adopted this famous motto. These words have never shouted more truth. “United We Stand. Divided We Fall”. It’s not too late to unify our hearts and minds. It’s never too late to walk in love.