Been a few years since I used this site but this has been on my mind for a bit and I need to get it out.
I work on federal government contracts for a living, and as you may imagine, the government is not always the easiest to work with - and it's been worse the past 10 months or so (not a political statement, just a verifiable fact). The other week my almost 2 year old was in the room with me as I was getting more and more frustrated. Finally, in anger, I let out a "sh*t" under my breath. Without missing a beat, my little guy repeated me. Yeah, yeah, berate my bad parenting later...Let's move on.
It got me thinking though. In a few short years our 2 kids will be going to school. And that scares me. A lot. I am not scared because of gun violence, CRT, gender pronouns or state curriculums. No, what I am scared of is so much greater. I'm scared of the other parents that will also have kids in school with mine.
I'm scared because our kids listen and they imitate us. It's why our oldest brings me lightsabers and wants to "duel" and it's why he repeated my language.
Today, what our kids are seeing from us as parents is that it's okay to belittle or berate someone for having different political ideas or opposing thoughts on social issues. We are raising a generation that will think that it is okay to hang flags that say "F--- Trump" or "F---Biden" because we voted the other way. We are raising a generation that is watching us wish actual death to people because we don't like them.
Our kids are learning that it is normal to humiliate others for their shortcomings instead of offering to help them. Our kids are watching us tear people apart - sometimes vulgarly and violently - people that we've never met solely based on if there is an "R" or a "D" next to their political affiliation. Bullying, threats, and pure hatred is being normalized in our society and in our homes. Not only that, but it is being glorified as we cheer and applaud it day in and day out. This notion of "you're with me or against me" is toxic and it's eroding the foundation of humanity.
I'm scared because what happens if one of my kids has a different opinion? Will there be a banner hung that says "F--- him"? Will one of my sons have people wishing death on him simply because he is different? You may say that's absurd, but I disagree. Our kids are watching and repeating us...and they will continue to do so. What we normalize now will be intensified in the next generation.
This is not a Republican/Democrat, rich/poor, black/white issue. This is a humanity issue. And what we are teaching our kids by our actions towards others is the single greatest threat of all. And the remedy is simple: be kind. Spread love, not hate. Listen instead of automatically rejecting someone with a different opinion - you may just learn something. Pause, step back from a situation and look objectively at an issue, not at what <insert favorite news source here> tells you to think. Let's raise our kids to be better than we are today. Because the reality is if we don't, they won't be the same as us. They will be worse than us.