It is a terrifying time to be alive. The fear is palpable and everyone has the blame squarely placed on someone else’s shoulders. Thanks, Obama. JUST KIDDING. This is a serious post (seriously, no offense to our president AT ALL!), but if you’ve read anything I’ve written previously, you know humor is my defense mechanism. Chandler Bing, anyone? That’s me. Tangent.
Tragedies are being shown on what seems like a continuous loop on social media. The news is full of mass shootings, blatant racism, bigotry, political nightmares, what amounts to outright genocide missions, and I don’t know about you, but I feel like I want to round up my VIPs, pool our money and get the eff out of Dodge. Can we buy a small island and just huddle together, safely away from this… this hateful world?
Sadly, no. I want to keep my children safe, but I couldn’t, in good conscience, turn a blind eye to this even if it were an option. But, how can I keep living in this chaos? How can I explain to my children what is going on in this world? How can I leave my house with them when just this week a mother was arrested for threatening to shoot up her child’s daycare? This happened in my town. If you want to get particular, in my neighborhood.
How in the world can I make any sort of difference? I preach kindness and tolerance to my children on a daily basis. It’s really the most important quality I think they can have. If they are nothing more than kind women in their lifetimes, I have succeeded. But, there is more to it than that. Kindness is an off shoot of compassion.
And with all of the vile, putrid, hurtful, ignorant, hateful venom I read, hear, and see multiple times every single day? I’m thinking it’s sorely lacking in our world.
My children go to school with a hugely diverse population of students and teachers. It’s one of so many reasons I adore their school. Some of their classmates have more than us. Some have far less. Some are Muslim, which means, of course, that some of the parents are, too. I see them and I ache for them. If I am terrified, as a white woman, for my family, how must they be feeling? How can I let them know that I stand beside them? That while fear is all around (and I feel it, too. I am not a perfect person – at all.), I refuse to fall down that ignorant rabbit hole. And I will parent my children accordingly.
I recently read a status update posted a proud Muslim woman named Sofia Ali-Khan, graciously offering suggestions for non-Muslims to show their support.
“Out yourself as someone who won’t stand for Islamophobia, or will stand with Muslims—there is an awful lot of hate filling the airways, and there are an awful lot of people with access to the media and/or authority stirring the pot about Muslims. Please help fill that space with support instead. Post, write, use your profile picture or blog to voice your support.”
I can do that. I encourage you to find her on Facebook and read her full post. It is filled with simple, yet powerful ways to help our fellow humans during this uncertain time in history.
I feel like the universe is reaching out to me, to help me find ways to be a better me, to help my children be loving, compassionate, kind citizens of this world. Yesterday, while listening to one of my favorite TED podcasts, I heard a portion of a talk given by political pundit and CNN contributor, Sally Kohn. It’s not a recent talk, but it resonates. In it, she talks about giving up on being politically correct and instead, focusing on being emotionally correct. Whoa, right? It’s not about seeing the world through rose-colored glasses and it’s not about forcing yourself to – whether superficially or not – change your own point of view to someone else’s.
“Emotional correctness is the tone, the feeling, how we say what we say. The respect and compassion we show one another. We spend so much time talking past one another and not enough time talking through our disagreements. And if we can start having compassion for one another, then we have a shot at building common ground.”
LIGHT BULB MOMENT, PEOPLE. I mean, I could quote her entire five-minute talk, but instead, I’ll just encourage you to give it a view. This isn’t a politically motivated sentiment. Honestly, it has nothing at all to do with politics. It has everything to do with human decency.
Human decency. What a concept.