In a Divided World, Teach Love
It has been difficult for me to blog lately. It’s really hard to write posts on potty training, picky eating or preschool, when there are bigger things weighing on my mind. When I sit down to write all I can think about is the divisiveness and violence that has become commonplace in our world. I see shell-shocked and broken children in Syria, fatherless families of innocent citizens, fatherless families of police officers and a new generation growing with a dangerous seed of anger in their hearts. These are the same seeds of anger that grow into terrorism, racism, stereotyping and saddening and frightening violence against our fellow humans.
It worries me that I am raising children in this world. It seems like respect and value for human life is getting farther and farther away from us. Violent images fill our media, desensitizing all of us to events that should be shocking and horrifying. For a while I just felt saddened by all of this and utterly helpless. What can I personally do to stop terrorism or civil injustice? Making noise on social media brings awareness, but does it actually do anything to solve the problem? Yesterday I saw a video that reminded me that we are powerful and every little positive action helps to bring hope, love and kindness back into the picture. The video showed a random citizen delivering Starbucks to the police officers working at the site of the bombing in New York City. As simple as it was, this small act of kindness was profound and inspiring. It made me really think about what we as parents can do to counteract all of the divisiveness that seems to be overtaking our communities. Here are a few things that I will try to practice with my kids as much as I can:
· Perform acts of kindness for others in need together with your child, or as a family. In a selfie loving and Pinterest perfect world, it’s easy for our kids to get the idea that the world revolves around them. We can provide balance and bring our kids back down to earth with activities that help them to see the world from others’ perspective.
· Teach kids to love others. Expose them to different cultures and teach them to celebrate the richness of diversity. This way they will learn to see differences as beautiful rather than threatening.
· Be careful with your words, especially around children. We may all be guilty of making careless adult jokes that we think are harmless because deep down “we don’t really think that way.” But children take things literally. Our words are internalized by kids, only to be repeated or acted upon at some later date.
· Teach kids to resolve conflicts without violence. “Using words” is a skill that is far too often ignored. As parents we should also “use our words” to resolve issues with our kids. Your example is everything.
· Although we are all feeling anger about many things in the news nowadays, let’s try not pass this anger onto our kids. Talk to them about recent events in a solution oriented way. Focus on what can be done to make positive change, even at their tender age.
In the midst of our busy lives as parents it may seem difficult to veer away from our regular activities or change the way we do things. But the truth is, change is in our hands. Our children will be the next generation of decision makers and leaders and we have the opportunity to shape what that will look like. It’s an opportunity and role that should not be taken lightly at all.
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© Nicola Rios Nogales and ispeakmom.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicola Rios Nogales and ispeakmom.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.