I've felt guilty the last few months because with every new tragedy that I hear about I don't feel angry or sad or heartbroken. I've become numb to those events. It feels so far away and so different from the life I live.
I try to put myself in the shoes of those families who have lost their brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers, and I can empathize with them. But, I also dread the arguments that will pop up after the event is over because I know the arguments these events kick up end up doing more harm than good.
The posts across social media spew more hatred and lead to friends and families fighting over what should be done. We don't fight about how we should change to improve the world; instead we fight about how the government needs to make changes to stop the violence.
This is what annoys me the most. No matter what legislation the government passes, no matter how hard they make it to buy weapons, no matter how much money they throw at studies and laws it won't change a thing. Because these incidents aren't caused by just gun owners; they're caused by people who have deep hatred in their hearts and you can't legislate someone's thoughts and feelings.
I can't stop anyone else's hatred but I can stop it from influencing my family. I truly believe that the only way we can stop these tragedies is to stop treating people like they're enemies when they have different beliefs than we do.
So, you want to know what this mom's plan is to stop the hatred? I plan to raise better children.
I will teach my kids to love.
The first thing that we need to teach our kids is to love everyone. I've struggled over what loving everyone and accepting everyone's decisions means. I believe that I can disagree with a person's beliefs and choices and still love them.
Loving everyone means seeing them as valued people. Race, religion, social class, ethnicity don't affect a person's worth. My personal beliefs teach me that we are all loved children of a Heavenly Father, who created us in his image. We're all different, but he loves us all the same, and I want to feel that way about people too, even the ones who drive me crazy. I know I'm not perfect and sometimes I don't like a certain person, but loving them means rising above those feelings and wishing the best for them no matter how much I don't get along with them.
I want to teach my children that having different views and beliefs is normal. People make choices that you won't think are right, but that doesn't make them a bad person. The best way to overcome differences is to learn and talk and love.
I will teach my kids to disagree without hate.
I love politics. I studied political science in college and loved when my professors worked to have us see both sides of an issue. I believe that everyone, no matter where they are on the political spectrum, wants what is best for the world, but we just see different ways of how to accomplish that goal.
The problem we face now is that we are so unwilling to listen and try to understand the other side that we see them as an enemy, not as a a person with valid opinions and feelings. We disregard anything that comes from "the other side" as stupid and wrong without even taking time to consider the argument. When we jump to conclusions or refuse to listen to the other side we miss out on vital opportunities to compromise and see things from another angle.
I want to teach my children to listen, without rolling their eyes, to other people's opinions; you can disagree and still be friends. I want to teach them that listening and considering another opinion doesn't mean they're abandoning their won beliefs. Most of all, I want to teach my children that compromise leads to better outcomes than sticking to your own guns, just because you don't want to be wrong.
I will teach my kids to help.
It's easy to see that there is too much hate in this world. The rise of bullying in children is astounding to me. I never felt bullied as a child, sure I was picked on but never to the point where I wanted to harm myself or others.
I don't think I would have stepped in and stood up for other people if I had been in the situations that kids are in every day now. However, I want my children to be better than me. They can be leaders for good. My kids will know my expectations and that if they are ever the instigators of bullying they'll have their mom and dad to answer to. We won't allow it.
I want to teach my children to step in and help those around them that are being hurt. I want to teach them that they can make a difference with their words and actions. They need to choose to be kind and to use their words to build people up not tear them down.
Motherhood is so much more than cooking meals and cleaning the house. Motherhood is raising the next generation to be better than we are. I do not take that responsibility lightly. I live in a small town in Idaho, where it feels like the world is a million miles away. I may not be able to influence the whole world, but I can influence my world. Raising better children who love and listen and care is the best contribution this momma can make to a better world.