What a week! If one thing is for certain, life will bring you surprises. Some will be good, and some you won’t like. This week, like others, has brought a bag of mixed feelings for many Americans. And, sometimes when we first discover a surprise we don’t like, or something we wish were different, we are faced with some raw emotions. Life is about sorting through what to do with those emotions and where to channel this energy or reaction.
Typically, I steer away from political discussions, period. Even with my own husband, I have to acknowledge that many friends and even family have different views of how to vote, serve the world, and even be a Christian. It’s very personal. It makes my heart beat faster and my blood pressure rise to accept that people I love do not believe the same things I believe. So, it is easier to keep on loving them and not dwell on our differences.
But, for some citizens to move forward towards acceptance, they must feel like their voices are heard. The outpouring of anger and action this week is because many feel like their voices weren’t heard. The majority of Americans believe we made the wrong decision electing our new leader so many citizens are speaking up. That’s their right, and it’s part of the healing. It’s not about being a sore loser; it’s about making sure voices are heard and channeling fear and anger into doing something. So, for anyone insulting or putting others down for expressing their feelings of distrust, fear, or unrest, they have to understand that doing nothing with those emotions isn’t going to help healing or lead to acceptance.
Should they do it peacefully? Yes! Should they do it without putting others down? Yes! Should they practice what they preach? Yes. Will it change the outcome? Maybe not. But, the protesting is really about standing up for values and morals. It may allow like-minded people to meet. And, it will provide a platform for average people to be leaders.
When I see ignorant social media posts about bring God back to school and we wouldn’t have these problems, and if we just said the pledge at school, all would be well, I want to say get out of your bubble. We do that every day at school! Pledge allegiance to the flag…..one nation under GOD…. Yes, schools are practicing and teaching citizenship. We encourage the right to free speech and live in a world of diversity. But, are the parents? Is America practicing kindness, respect, and living like Jesus?
No matter what side of the wall you’re on, are you personally leading by example? Are you showing respect to others, helping those in need, loving your neighbor, practicing peace, and standing up for the oppressed? Are you putting others down or building them up? Are you the change you want to see in the world?
These are the things we teach in schools. But, children will go home and be most influenced by their families or the people putting a roof over their head. So, when people outside of public education make blanket statements about what we are doing wrong in schools and the if-only statements, they are making untrue statements.
In fact, I have seen a lot of “make America kind again” posts this week too. This also is inaccurate. There have been and continue to be plenty of kind people in this country. Over the past 10 years, my family has been showered with kindness. If you don’t have kind friends, you should look into making different friends. And, children are still good at heart. Ok, so it’s playing off of “make America great again”. But, America is great, was great, and many people are still kind.
Now, there are those groups and individuals that are filled with dysfunction, hate, or just plain craziness everywhere, across the world. And, I assure you it’s not because they grew up feeling loved, wanted, and safe. Insecurity comes from a lack of consistent unconditional love and basic needs being met. But, is this really new?
Being scared of someone based on their religion or making false assumptions is not kind, or smart! Telling your child that women cannot lead as well as a man is unfair. Spreading rumors or talking behind other’s back is rude. Excluding individuals or groups based on a characteristics they cannot control is bullying. Believing you are better than others because of money, skin color, sexual orientation, or religion is disrespectful, arrogant, and narcissistic. That is what we teach in school. And, this is what I teach in my home.
Maybe what we need to work on is really inside our own front door. Despite what others say or how unkind they may be, we have a choice on how to react. We choose what values we teach our children and how we express anger. We model problem-solving and conflict-resolution when we face adversity. Parents may choose kindness and truth, over hate and ignorance. We teach our children to listen, respect the rights and feelings of others, and to help and not hurt. This will make the biggest difference in our future generations. Regardless of your political beliefs, these values will yield progress and peace.
When we are filled with confusion, sadness, or even despair and depression (for whatever reason), we have many choices. Doing something positive and productive helps us overcome negative feelings and move forward. Like a wise woman once said: