Sunday, January 29, 2017

Watching and Listening

I'm overwhelmed.  Totally and throughly overwhelmed.  So much has happened in our world in the past week that I am on news overload.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.  Several times in the past few days, my family has had to tell me to "step away from the internet".  There is so much news, so much spin, so much hate and so much confusion that I can barely process it all.  It is becoming surreal.  It has become challenging to know what is real, what is fake, what is hype and what is "alternate facts".

Here is what I know:  what is happening now is a direct result of many years of political apathy on the part of American citizens.  Politics is a dirty business so many of us have chosen to allow others to play that game.  And now... here we are.  As my father would say, "Up shit creek without a paddle".  He has a way with words, my father.  I'll admit it, I am complicit in this situation.  After having grown up in politics, I had developed a distaste for anything remotely political.  I shied away from it, choosing instead to focus on what I could manage, namely raising children and surviving.

Like many others, I feel that I have awakened into a nightmare.  Big money controls our country now more than ever.  This president, unlike other career politicians before him, is too impulsive and naive to even attempt to mask the situation.  His cabinet nominees and his White House staff are a testament to how he and our government has been sold to the highest bidders irregardless of their qualifications or their conflicts of interest.

We live in a large and diverse country.  The wheels of government turn slowly and the legal system will manage to, hopefully, temper some of what is happening.  In my opinion, it is a good thing that our citizens have been awakened.  It is important that not only the momentum continues, but that we remember that our President works for us, not vice versa.  We need to stay awake and not be lulled back into complacency.

We also need to remember that our children are watching us.  They hear and see more than we think they do.  Just last week my boys took out every building block I had available to build what they called a "Trump Wall".  It was funny but it was also sad.  They built a wall and decided who could be on which side of it.  This is not what I want my Littles to think is OK.  I teach them to tear down walls, look outside of skin colors and differences and to accept each other for the good in each of us.  Our children are watching how we behave.   We must be cognizant of that fact.  We must conduct ourselves in a way that is positive.  We must use this as an opportunity to teach them about discrimination, how to object in a way that is fruitful, how to stand up to a bully, and how to handle conflict.

Our children are watching.  We must remember not to lower ourselves to the level that our elected officials would like to take us.  Try watching the news with the sound off.  Look at the angry faces.  Read the signs.  So much anger.  So much hate.  So many bad words.  This is what our children are seeing.  While they may not understand the words, they see the anger and the hate.  They hear our discussions and our opinions.  I know this because of how I hear my Firsties speak to each other at recess and playtime.  They use angry and loud voices.  They shout to be heard.  They say bad words that they hear at home or on TV and the internet.

We have a chance, one chance, right now, to teach our children how to understand what is happening.  We can teach them to be active in their community.  We can teach them the power of voting.  We can model for them what a peaceful protest looks like.  We can demonstrate the power of words.  We can teach them how to be kind.  They are watching.  They are listening.  Never underestimate that.

1 comment:

  1. Love your point that what we do creates an impression on our children. A great driver of decisions for us. It is important that they see how we use our brains. It seems that value is not very evident these days. I think they also need to see us stand up for what is right to and sometimes that is not very pretty.