More shootings. More tragedy. More victims. More lives lost. More shattered families.
It’s exhausting. It’s infuriating. There is a place for those feelings.
There is a place for anger. We should be angry about the loss of life. We should be angry about violence happening again and again in our communities. We should use this anger to galvanize ourselves into action.
There is a place for anger, but there is no place for hate. There is no place for hate directed at any race, nationality, or creed. There is no place for hate directed at any political party, politician, or candidate.
If we want to accomplish anything, we have to try to understand the “other side.” The other side is not filled with bad people. The other side is not filled with stupid people who cannot think for themselves. On the other side sits a person just like you — a person just as convinced of their worldview as you are of yours. To move forward, we must try to understand each other. We must assume good intentions. We must approach with a spirit of kindness rather than contempt. As the leader of one of the greatest social movements of our time said,
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As peaceful parents, our goal is to raise a generation of children for whom love is the norm. A generation whose native language is kindness. A generation who radiates compassion because they’ve been steeped in it every day. A generation for whom assuming the best of intentions is a given.
We cannot accomplish this while simultaneously disparaging our fellow citizens and neighbors for being stupid. No, not even if they just don’t get it. No, not even if they voted for THAT candidate from the other side. We all have something to learn from others. We all have something to teach others.
It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of the world’s problems, but we are not powerless. We can accomplish great things, but not by preaching to the choir and showing how much better we are than Those Other People. Instead, we can listen. We can assume there are good people on all sides of an issue. We can put away our knee-jerk reactions and take time to really try to understand where those of us who disagree are coming from. We can rethink our long-held beliefs. We can reflect. We can end the football politics in which one team wins but the whole country loses.
The next generation is watching. Let’s show them how to love.