The World Is On Fire
What we, as parents, can do to stop the burning.
I was originally planning on writing about technology, how my wife and I have been trying to keep it at a minimum for Maggie, and why. But waking up on the morning of July 8th, it all seemed so trivial. Especially when it feels as if the world is on fire.
There’s so much violence going on right now. So much hate. Perhaps it’s always been there, and we just didn’t notice years ago because there was no such thing as social media, Facebook live video, Twitter and a gazillion online media sources. Cable news has also gotten more graphic, more sensational. We see violence happening everywhere now. And lately it seems like it is getting worse.
The energy and momentum that have been linked arm in arm with the 2016 presidential election is headed for a crescendo of epic proportions. The discord and division in our country is so thick you can taste it. As I sat down in front of my computer ready to write, my shoulders slumped forward with the heaviness that is hanging over humanity. I had just dropped Maggie off at school. She wasn’t bogged down by heaviness. She was as light as can be, draped in a protective cape of childhood innocence. We were listening to the radio and she said, “Mama, do you know that Drake is a funny name for a singer?”
I laughed. And in that moment I forgot all about the heaviness, too. In that moment, I wished childhood innocence was something we could all carry with us into adulthood. At four years old, Maggie is still far removed from the atrocities of the world and the failing of humankind. There will come a time when she will no longer have her protective cape, and the questions will be asked. I’m not sure exactly what answers I’ll have.
I’ve talked up and down about the importance of teaching kindness. Never has that been more apparent than it is today. When children are taught to focus on our differences and how to hate, they grow up to be adults who not only look at the world through hateful eyes but also act on it. They make decisions and life choices based on it. And they, in turn, teach their kids the same doctrine. The cycle begins and ends with our children. Children know nothing of hate for sexual orientation, race, creed, or gender. Which begs the question: how could hate exist if it weren’t taught?
As a parent, I will continue to do my part. And I beseech others to do the same. In the meantime, let’s hope we don’t burn up the world with our differences before our children get a chance to grow up and experience life. Hopefully, they will do better than we’ve done.