Monday, June 13, 2016

One Pulse: A Florida Mom's Perspective

Being a mom definitely has a way of completely changing your perspective on absolutely everything. Every action, every sight, every decision, every single detail of life - whether within your control or not-  is now centered around how it will affect that little bundle of joy. At least that's the way it is for me. I'm not saying my perspective as a mother is better or worse than the perspective of my former-self...It's very just different.

Every senseless act of violence...is not only a terrifying event of the present world, but now a horrific path of what there may be more of in the future. Every person killed is someone's baby. Every person taking lives...is someone's baby.

It's no longer worrying for my safety in my day to day travels. (Although, that worry is still very much there.)  But it's a much more prevalent heavy, aching feeling of distress.  Distress over the kind of world my son will have to navigate.  The kind of world he will have to go out into.  The kind of world he will be facing, at times, without me by his side to protect him. The kind of world he will have to be a part of.  The kind of world he will have to learn to grow and thrive in.

There is so much hate. So much hate that we all wish we could just make disappear. And what's worse than hate?  Action fostered out of hate.

I know the reaction of many is to get angry.  (It's an almost automatic response, isn't it?) Point their fingers at something or someone. Direct their own feelings of distress towards something or someone else. And attack.  Attack verbally. But we all know this blame game we play a little too well.  This blame game that leads to arguing and destroying any unification we had built.  It almost never leads to a grand solution that solves the bigger problem.  Because anger, fear, and hate...they all come from the same place.  And they all circle back into resulting in only...anger, fear, and hate.

So what can we do? What can parents do? How can we prevent this dark path of destruction our children seem to be trapped into walking on?

We can teach them to be the light. We can teach them love. We can teach them acceptance. Or at the very least, tolerance. We can teach them that different beliefs, different cultures, and differences in general don't mean wrong. Or right.  That different is simply different.

We can teach them it doesn't have to be "us" verses "them."  That there is no "them." We are all "us."

We can teach them actions out of hate are never the right actions.  No matter how deeply they may feel the need to pursue them in that moment. We can teach them to care about other human lives, feelings, and situations - whether they know them personally or not.

We can start by teaching them not to judge the homeless they may see passing by on the street...but to instead see a person in an undesirable situation who needs help.  We can teach them to be a voice for those bullied.  We can teach them to be confident in themselves without needing others to agree with who they are.  And without needing others to be "like them." Without fearing or looking down on others who are "not like them."

We can teach them that it's ultimately not our place as human beings to decide how someone lives his/her life - as long as he/she is not hurting anyone in the process. We can teach them not to blanket label members of a race, religion, ethnicity, gender, etc.

We can teach them that with love there is hope. We can make a point not to lose the stories of "the helpers" when we retell history.  We can tell them that although one man walked into a building filled with hate, THOUSANDS in that same city dropped what they were doing to help with LOVE. Love outnumbers hate every time.

We can teach them that while they may never be able to make hate disappear, they can choose not to add to its numbers or fan its fire. They, instead, can smother hate with love.  We can teach them that actions of love will allow them to set a brighter path for their own children to walk. And we can teach them, that with love, they can light this dark path we mothers see.

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