What can we all do right now in response to the recent horrific, unjust murders and long-standing history of systemic racism? Wow, big question! Raise children who love
– Yes, we can donate to organizations like Black Lives Matter
– Yes, we can continue to peacefully protest for legislative changes.
– Yes, we can educate ourselves, become aware of our own issues with race and how we contribute to ongoing inequality. I’m a white person, but we all can benefit from and learn How to be an Anti-Racist with Ibram X. Kendi
– Yes, we can promote and practice inclusivity in our own lives and communities.
But most importantly, we can raise children who love.
After the 9/11 attacks, when asked “What do we do to respond to the attack?”, Lawrence Kelemen, (author of To Kindle a Soul), responded by offering the encouraging answer of “we raise children who love”. What a simple, yet brilliant message to create change. Children are learning and watching us all the time in how we relate to them, to our partners, and to the people around us. Here’s what we can do as parents:
– We must love our partners, even when we disagree, even when we are very different.
– We must love our children, even when they have different interests, strengths, perspectives, feelings, and identities than what we do.
– We must treat others with respect, kindness, curiosity, and love, even when we are different and don’t agree.
– We must have empathy and compassion for ourselves and others in order to role model and teach this to our kids.
– We must listen to our kids. Then we must teach them how to truly listen to others. You can start in your own family. Listening involves being present, not interrupting, seeing things from another point of view, offering validation as to why it makes sense, and putting your reaction in your parking lot. Listening is hard work!
– We must pay attention as to how we show up in the world with other people. What are your kids learning from you?
– We must educate ourselves.
– We must speak up when we see something that is not ok.
– We must commit to love as a way of life, so that we are raising kids who love.
Personally, I know that I have not spoken up when I should have, just to avoid confrontation and an awkward situation. I can no longer be silent. It’s my job to show my kids and the world what is ok and not ok, and speak up when something is wrong.
To all parents out there, what you can do right now, and going forward, is raise your children to love other people.
I offer Parenting Counselling Greater Vancouver including Surrey, White Rock, Burnaby, Richmond, New Westminster, Delta, Coquitlam, Langley, Abbotsford, Mission, and Maple Ridge.