What can we all do right now in response to the current and historic fighting, murdering and deeply embedded issue of systemic racism? Wow, big question!
– 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 and biases with racial, religious and cultural differences. We can increase our awareness and discomfort in how we contribute to ongoing privilege, inaction, inequality and oppression. 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?
– Being antiracist is the opposite of being racist. We must take action now, prioritize it, and keep doing the work.
– 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 how to treat others with kindness and respect, and that all human life is equally important.
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.