I wonder what kind of people we are raising. I watch and listen to so many people’s voices and opinions, all are loud and clear. I see it, I read it, I hear it… we are literally drowning in it. That’s right we are drowning in it. It is making our worlds very murky and hard to see right from wrong, humanity, positive thoughts, kindness… pretty much everything that is good in this world. We have moved from stating facts and ideas- to name calling and yelling and there being one side for everything and everyone. All of which we choose to do- to name call or to proclaim your stand that if someone doesn’t stand by you they will no longer be your friend. You know what???? We are making little human beings all around us with ears and eyes and brains and hearts and knowledge… they are forming their values, their stories and their paths by our behavior and modeling. We are making poor choices- and they are seeing it.
Those littles learn from us bigs. They are seeing us, our interactions… the news, the words we spout; all of it the love and the hate. I see much more hate in these past months and years. They hear us on the phone or talking to friends- including when we talk about not being friends with anyone who doesn’t agree… they know. You know what they are doing? Forming their path and ways, the ways they will make relationships, that they will be a part of democracy, they are building that right now. You know what? We are failing at building good and kind people (yes we are). Believe me, I have heard and seen many kids in recent months and it ranges from tolerant to very unkind about this election. They aren’t taking with them life lessons of gratefulness for the fact we live in a country that votes, or knowledge about important issues, not even tolerance for those who believe different thing (always been an awesome part of America).
Yesterday my Lucy came home from school, she told me her class participated in a mock election. I told her that sounded interesting, she told me who won and she stopped there. “Mommy in my group everyone was voting for ***, and I wanted to vote for —. The kids told me that if I voted for — and not *** that I can not be their friend.” That is what we are making. I told her to tell her group if that were to ever happen again “I will be your friend whether or not you vote for who I do. Friendship isn’t based on that.” I told her to be herself, and stand up. God gave her a voice and a brain and a heart to use and stand… that those words might remind that group member being kind is more important than being the same. It has really bothered me since yesterday though. I can’t get it out of my brain.
Children don’t just say those things, they hear them and they learn them- then they practice them. In a world where so many are trying to build better for our country and families- we need to start at home. What they learn is what they will be- build them better.
In our home we use different words when the girls are not good to one another, when one is jealous or spouts unkind words. I ask them “Are you building or breaking?”… and often time they say “But she did it first” and I repeat “Building or breaking?… in our family we build.” I want them to grow up with a grasp on this, a very firm hold on the idea that we are capable of building and breaking and building is always better. In this election we talked a lot about all of the candidates- I explained Bernie Sanders ideals and how that would affect them if he were chosen, I told them about Hillary’s scandals and the fact that I think she is a very selfish human, we talked about Trump’s words and cockiness and maybe some about his hair… though Meme and I agree that he wears a suit better than Hillary. I have told them that they can believe in who they want, we are free to do that- but we have to live with the good and the bad in that person. I also told them- it is no one’s job to tell them who to vote for. Their job is to use their voice to change the country the way THEY see.
Yesterday Lucy sat in a group with kids whose parents did not show their littles that friendship isn’t based on voting candidates. In fact my Facebook feed is chock full of people telling me who I should or should not vote for- telling me that if I am not on board to DumpTrump, Vote Trump or #Iamwithher I am wrong. I love that fact that what I fill in on that ballet is none of your beeswax. It is my choice and I get to make it… though I am still waiting for Abe Lincoln to magically drop in on the ballot. If I choose to share and you unfriend me, then you aren’t a friend.
My biggest hope is that this country gets stronger and more respectful, more full of kindness and simple… less is more. My prayer is that tomorrow when we all wake up we can take a couple deep breathes and get on with our lives- and love everyone anyway. If we work from the bottom up, through our kids, schools, communities, churches and on up we will build it better.
OHHHHH…. In case you all wonder:
I am voting for…..