I like most people was glued to the news outlets today after learning of the murders live on WDBJ this morning. I sat there really, really, confused. How could someone take the lives of two people in such a malicious and intentional manner? Why did this person tape his heinous actions and boastfully post them to social media? How did this person get to this point? So many questions that we may never have really clear answers to. I then thought how, as a parent can I help make my children people who will bring good and light into this world? What can I teach them that they may be people who can help others by just being themselves? Can I do anything to help my children be the people that help someone(s) who feel hopeless, have hope?
I thought about the values I currently teach them and what more I could do. My son is 7 and he is compassionate, honest, and extremely kind. I do my best to reinforce those values. I do also have to teach him to be aware and be sharp. He needs to be aware of the ugliness of the world and not let it dim his light.
As a parent I have to also be aware of the ugliness in the world and be mindful of that. I will always teach them self preservation above all. I was in St. Louis the day after the Michael Brown murder and a friend of mine wanted me to go to Ferguson with her to protest. It was something I felt strongly about, such an incredible injustice, blatant disrespectful treatment of the deceased, and in my opinion excessive force. As much as I wanted to go support, my children are always my number one priority. I was 5 months pregnant and there is nothing that I would do to put myself or my children in danger. Self preservation. I want to that to be second nature to them. Am I preventing them from being the next Dr. King by teaching them that? Possibly. As a selfish mother I’ll accept that. To be that kind a leader you have to be willing to die for your cause. I’m much rather they change the world in a different way that doesn’t make them a target.
How do you do all of this? How do you protect your kids? How do you teach your kids? What do you teach them? Maybe the answers are in that parenting handbook that never came with the baby. Knowing that you just have to trust yourself and do your best is insurmountable pressure.
I certainly pray that our landscape changes for the better as my children grow up. I don’t want them to be glued to MSNBC as I am for these types of reasons. I hope that the news they watch shows more love than hate. More philanthropy than robbery, and more life than death. I pray for them and the state of the world they will thrive in.
My prayers are with the families of Allison Parker and Adam Ward.