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I Just Don’t Understand

September 29, 2016

In the core of the unrest happening just miles from here my daughter sent this text message. “I don’t know if you’re watching the news. But I just wanted to tell you thank you…Growing up you taught me to love people. You never talked to me about color or race or one color is better than another…So I thank you. I just don’t understand all this stuff happening…” I choked up as I read her words. As a mother it was a proud moment for me to appreciate my daughter clung tight to the values I taught her as a young child.

As for the world we now live in, given the accelerated tensions with each unfortunate incident occurring within, or near, our communities it’s understandable anxiety has affected those directly (and indirectly) involved. Unfortunately, the ricochet effect of this collective tension has spread its arduous tentacles far and wide, reaching the readily influenced minds of small children who mirror what they hear and see, reflecting back, without fully comprehending, anger and fear like an emotional boomerang.

Unalleviated negative emotions fester; swelling into volatile boils of unrelenting turmoil rupturing at the first inkling of discord. Exploding in a lethal spew of perpetual rage so violent, we, as a civilized society, are left shaking our heads and muttering, I don’t understand. I just don’t understand.

Friends, how did we get so far away from the days of unlocked doors and accords bound by a hand shake? Today’s child is born into a vastly altered world, a world which leaves most adults longing for the unpretentiousness of their youth. Carefree days filled with friends, amusement and laughter; a time when a child’s only worry was not to be late for supper.

In contrast, children today worry. They worry about weapons in school and emotionally abusive harassment by other children on the bus or playground. Of course, there was the occasional bully when we were young, but bullies today congregate and carry weapons. Unfounded in our youth, our fear of ‘a monster under the bed’ has become a reality for our children. Appallingly, our children’s’ monsters are their age…and often their peers.

Alas, the world has changed. Our neighborhoods have changed. Our interpretation of morals has changed. Our perspectives are skewed. Our dispositions are exceedingly sensitive. The line between right and wrong has blurred. The labels we impose on each other are harsher. The lines drawn between us are heavier…darker.

Still, I pray for a world in which we love each other. Love is a genuine desire to want the best for someone. Love begets joy, it offers hope, it’s grateful. Love transcends generations, race, genders and religion. Love is acceptance, honor and respect for one another as we would ourselves. If for no other reason than we are human beings.

Love doesn’t mean we have to agree. We don’t even have to share beliefs or values. Yet, imagine a world without judgement. A world in which we simply accept we are all individuals with differences. Differences aren’t wrong, they are simply different.

Employing the core value of love, and gently reminding each other to accept one another’s differences while instilling in our children the immeasurable return on investment realized when they fully grasp ‘we are all in this together’ will significantly impact future generations. Teaching our children to love beyond boundaries today will carry compassion, empathy and respect with them for a lifetime.

Exposed to extreme prejudice growing up I vowed I would break the chains of tainted morals. Now, having grandchildren my heart smiles to realize I have instilled ideals in my daughter she’s fortifying in her children. For future generations of my family and yours it is my profound hope they accept, honor and respect others without prejudice.

Gandhi kept it simple, “Where there is love, there is life.”

Can you imagine…loving beyond boundaries?

Smile, you are loved.



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