a change is going to come


Like many of you, I've struggled with the news these days.  It can be heartbreaking, scary, & downright anger-inducing from time to time.  Over the weekend, I sat down in our rocker with Lola as she dozed off & started scrolling through feeds. I had had an eye on the activities in Charlottesville since Friday, but between the PGA tournament that we attended and having friends over, quite honestly, I didn't have the band width to process it.  And as I rocked my sweet little girl, my heart continued to sink.  There's something about the juxtaposition of these new, beautiful, innocent lives that we have in our household & the ugliness that is going on in the world around us that makes me think about the world that we are leaving for our children.

It's a question that we've worked a lot on with our five-year-old, who is almost equally as innocent as our newborns, though with a few more fart jokes.  In times like these, you see a lot of rhetoric around how people come to be who they are; that the type of hate we see these days you aren't born with, you are taught.  I have to agree with that statement.  I have a lot to say about what is going on these days, particularly about the hateful & ludicrous events that occurred in Charlottesville over the weekend - where it comes from, how we've gotten here.  But instead of adding more to the noise in this space, I wanted to talk about how we work to not only instill kindness & love in our children, but also help give them the strength & moral compass to stand up for what is right.  I truly do believe that in addition to standing up for what is right in these situations, that in teaching our children to do the same, we are working towards part of the solution to this issue.

At a baseline, talking about kindness is relatively easy with kids.  They live in a very black & white world where right is right & wrong is wrong.  At a young age without much prompting from us, Liam has been able to identify feelings, how to treat others, & how his behavior is impactful to other kids.  He doesn't ALWAYS get it right (though we've learned that the best intentions are there) & as he's gotten older, it's become a little more difficult to navigate because kids are unintentionally careless with words & actions from time to time.  But we talk a lot about 'filling people's buckets', sandpaper words, & how to be inclusive.  We use examples in terms of Star Wars & Superheroes & apply them to how this would work out in a real-life scenario like if you saw a kid being bullied or left out.  We talk about it at the dinner table at night when it comes up in conversations; it's something that we intrinsically try to weave into our daily commentary so that it's less of a teachable moment (though there are those) & more of an everyday behavior.  I feel as if this talking part is the easiest part of it all, but what we are working on now is the more difficult component which is leading by example.

It's a delicate balance because you still want to shield your child.  You do not want them to grow up too soon or face the harsh realities of the world sooner than they need to or have the capacity to process.  However, making your child more aware of these truths around them can be done without forcing them to face realities which they may not be emotionally prepared to manage.  Join a march; volunteer at a local organization; set up a volunteer event that is kid-centric & speak to them directly about why they are doing what they are doing in terms that they understand; set up a lemonade stand & pick a cause which is important to your family to donate the funds to.  One thing that we did was join the Women's March this past year with Liam.  It was a decision that we didn't make lightly.  We discussed the march with him before we went; we talked about what it was about, what he would see there, & told him that if he had any questions we were happy to answer them.  We also mentally prepared for if we needed to cut & run if things were not appropriate for him.  And we engaged with him after the event to talk about what he saw, how he felt, & what his questions were.  It was amazing to me how such a simple gathering of people was impactful to him.  What we learned was that though he didn't fully grasp the concepts of why people were marching - he got the jist.  A woman participating overheard us discussing it with him prior to the march start and she gave him one of her signs.

When I posted this picture, I got a tremendous amount of support (another testament to the fact that we've surrounding ourselves with an amazing group of people).  I also had the highest number of unfollows I have ever had.  This was incredibly disappointing to me; not because I need people to follow me or  that I am a sensitive person when it comes to social media (or life for that matter) but because I felt that this is a missed opportunity for us all.  All of us have these platforms these days.  They afford us a unique opportunity to interact & engage now more than any other generation before us.  And yet,it gives us an easy out to disengage from the conversation - we can unfollow & turn away from things that make us uncomfortable, we can hide behind handles to make statements which we would never dream of making to someone if we were face-to-face.  We don't respect the fact that people have different backgrounds, perspectives, opinions, & beliefs.  We condemn those who don't align with our thoughts & instead of listening, showing empathy, and building a bridge across the divide not in an effort to change the other person's mind, but so that we can have a greater understanding of their perspective.  We do what is easy - We ignore.  My charge to all of us adults (myself included) is lean into these discussions that make us uncomfortable, respectfully.  What is missed most often is we don't always have to agree, but we do have to be respectful, we have to treat each other as equals, & we have to be stand up for what's fundamentally what is right & what is wrong.

I know that this post is a very over simplification of a very complex situation: something that is deep-rooted and has been an issue in this country for awhile.  But my hope in writing it was to help give us all, actionable items to move forward.  Senator Corey Booker posted something interesting over the weekend and I thought it worthwhile in sharing: The evil of hatred isn’t just the overt torch-bearing bigots in Virginia. The evil of hate is also the ignorance that breeds it, the apathy that sustains it and the..rhetoric that gives it license to flourish....Condemnation is expected. Anger is understood. But only action, work, sacrifice and struggle will yield progress. The focus should not just be about what “they” did in Virginia, but what we will do where we are to advance our nation toward greater justice.  I believe in love. I believe that love can indeed conquer hate.  But love is not passive. Love doesn’t just sit back and hope that things will change.  Love demands us confronting our own ignorance or complicity in injustice or our own biases and humbly working to change ourselves and our community.  Love is courageous and relentless and it is indeed what our nation needs now.  I believe in love.  I believe in us.  May we all rise to meet the urgent demands of our moment in history.

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Thank you so much for reading my blog and leaving me a lovely comment! Your support truly makes my day. Hope you come back soon! xoxo