“I want to watch the news mom,” Ella casually said yesterday morning. She knew of course, that she is not allowed to watch TV during the week, but thought she’d try a new angle saying she wanted to know what the weather would be like. A clever ploy. While impressed by the approach, I could not bring myself to turn on the news, for fear she’d see the hate, violence and fearmongering that is more present than ever in our society.
I don’t advocate raising kids in a bubble, where they think the world is a beautiful, peaceful place all the time, but how do you explain the temperature of our country, our world right now? How do you explain the horrible terrorist attack in Paris, the shooting (which I consider domestic terrorism) at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs and the possible terrorist attack (domestic terrorism even if its not officially determined to be a terrorist attack) in San Bernardino? How do I explain the hateful words coming out of politicians mouths about a religion, a culture, a group of people? I don’t know.
Every night Josh and I talk about the outrageous posts we see on Facebook, the latest news clips and how we just don’t understand how people are so closed-minded. We agree that ignorance, tends to breed fear. Fear is a powerful force, a feeling that people want to avoid when possible. They want a quick solution that will make them sleep easier at night, even if it is putting others at risk. The problem is there is no quick solution. What we also agree upon is that fear is absolutely not an excuse for discrimination. By the end of the night, he usually tells me I should not be on Facebook any more because it makes me feel rage and sadness, even embarrassment in my fellow Americans.
So, instead of letting our four year old watch the news, we’re talking about how what makes us all different is what makes our country special. That for no reason should we be mean or hateful towards someone because of the color of their skin, their religion, where they live, how they speak or any disability they may have. While there are bad people within every culture, the bad people do not define an entire culture. If they don’t understand something, ask questions, read books, learn more. It’s important not to cast aside people because we’re afraid of what we don’t know.
Every day I hope that those who are shouting the loudest right now, are a minority. I’m hopeful that respect will overcome fear and hate. I hope that should our children choose to change their religious affiliation or fall in love with someone from another culture, they won’t be too afraid of the possible repercussions to live their lives.
Hope will not bring about change, it will not solve the worlds problems, but it is something I will not let go of, for my sake and my children.