As I read the news of Charlottesville and watched the videos, I could not hold back my tears. Watching such hate and violence put my heart in a state of emergency. I can’t start to comprehend the guiding principles or values of white supremacists. It baffles me that people have the ability to believe that they are better because of the color or their skin, their religion, or who they love. I am ashamed to watch people marching and chanting “ We will not be replaced”. In what world do we live that we think we are better than others? Sadly in this world.
As we pray for the family of Heather Heyer as they mourn their courageous daughter, and the many victims that suffered injuries from the terrorist attack, we need to think about what lessons we can take away from this tragedy. We are not born to hate, to be violent, or to bully. These are learned behaviors from home and from our upbringing. We are taught these behaviors, beliefs and then we live it and feed off that hate. Sadly James Alex Field Jr. acted upon his hatred. Where does hate stem from? When you really think about it, it comes from fear and pain. So when people hurt they hate. When they hate they put up walls and can’t see past their own dissolutions or skewed beliefs. Hate is like a virus it can infect many and cause irreparable damage. So how do we reverse this cycle of violence, hate, and oppression?
We can relearn how to love and be compassionate. We can undo the damage that hate has brought upon our world, by planting one kindness seed at a time. These are the topics that could be taking place at our dinner table. What it really comes down to is teaching our children to love more and eradicate hate from their hearts.
It is the small actions that have the biggest impact. It’s about changing our own actions day-by-day that we can be stronger as a community and eradicate hate. Below are some ideas from parents and teachers to create a hate free home.
Talk about these incidents on the news, share how it is disheartening to see such violence. Ask your kids how they feel and what as a family you could do to help.
Immediately address your children if they say something prejudice or discriminatory. Take that incident and turn it into a teachable moment. Often kids just mimic behaviors and don’t really understand what they said. By taking the time to talk to your kids, it helps them see a different perspective.
Start monitoring your own stereotypes and biases. By creating some self-awareness, you can take small steps to overcome what you might prevent you to being fully open to different people.
Ask questions and be open to hear stories from people that are different then you. Learning about people that are different then us creates connection versus separation. By learning about different culture, background, and races we get to build a more diverse and unified community.
Don’t be a bystander, when you see hate, prejudice, or discrimination do or say something. If you don’t feel safe, then call the authorities or get help. When we let ourselves be bystanders, we are letting hate win. Often there is a way to approach these type of situations. You can come from a place of empathy and kindness when you approach the perpetrator. You can be a distraction, or you can stand up for the person. Remember that when you do nothing, it is like saying it is ok to treat people that way.
There are a gazillion small things we can do to start reversing the cycle of hate. Just pick one and start to plant a seed for a kinder loving tomorrow.
Until Next Time…
Be Brave* Be Strong* Be a Bulldog