Learning to Love and not Hate……
On Thursday morning I saw this posted on Planting Peace’s Facebook page and immediately shared it on my own. Throughout the day I thought of the words on this picture and just how true they are. In the past several months there have been numerous tragic events involving school and workplace shootings, kidnappings, killings, suicides as a result of bullying and much more. Each time I hear of these situations my heart aches for the families of all involved. As difficult as it is to have a loved one taken away as a result of hate crimes I wonder how the parents of the perpetrator feel. What parent wants to know that their child has committed a horrific crime all in the name of hate? This past week the mother of a seven year old little boy made him a Klu Klux Klan costume for him to wear for Halloween. Naturally this made the local news and a firestorm has rippled through their community and throughout my state. This mother defends her right to do whatever she wants and has openly shared her support of the KKK and what she believes is normal behavior. Of course she has a right to dress her son in whatever she wants for Halloween, however, she is doing nothing more than teaching her little boy how to hate.
Where is the hate coming from? Where are we (society) learning these hateful behaviors? I recently read about a pastor calling for a boycott on Girl Scout cookies because he believes that the Girl Scouts promote lesbianism, abortion and Planned Parenthood. Seriously this “pastor” is teaching hatred, bigotry and prejudice from the pulpit. It’s all so sad and causes my heart to ache and wonder how things got this way. Somewhere these hate filled people learned to hate because babies are not born into this world knowing how to hate; or love for that matter. Hate, bigotry, racism etc. are learned behaviors.
For me, it is difficult to believe that there are parents, pastors, teachers and others teaching children that hatred is okay. Just because we do not agree with or feel comfortable with the mixed race couple living down the street doesn’t mean we should ridicule them or vandalize their property. Just because we don’t agree with or feel comfortable with the same sex family raising children in our neighborhood doesn’t mean we should demonize or shame them. Just because we disagree with certain religious practices of someone in our neighborhood, workplace or classroom doesn’t mean that we should hate them. If we do not agree with or feel comfortable with a situation we must first ask ourselves how their life is impacting our own. My guess is that it’s not. We should never judge or promote hate toward anyone for any reason. Quite often I wonder how those who hate would feel if the tables were turned and they were treated the way they treat others.
As the parent of a gay child I know all too well how it feels to be ridiculed, shamed and even shunned. As someone who is in the public eye I admit that I have set myself up for some of the criticism. That doesn’t mean I deserve it; it just means that I receive it. What I have learned over the past four years is that I cannot control anyone other than myself. It is up to me to be the best me that I can be and teach my children to do the same. Living my life as a positive example for my family, my students and my community is the best lesson I can teach.
As parents it is our job to not only clothe feed, shelter and teach life skills to our children but to be a role model for positive living. Filling our own lives with destructive behaviors will only trickle down into our innocent children’s lives perpetuating a cycle of hatred which is not what I believe we were created to do. Parents are essentially the lead role on the stage of life and knowing that children mimic what they see we must put our best foot forward and live a life of positivity and love; yes love. The first five years of a child’s life are the most formative. What they learn in those first five years will be the foundation of the life they will continue to live into adulthood.
Take time to teach your children that hatred, bigotry and judgment are not acceptable behaviors. Learning that disagreeing with someone is okay, but hating, judging and hurting someone because we disagree is never okay. As parents we are the first teacher our children will ever have; what is it that you want your children to learn?
I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
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