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The Questions All Parents Should Ask Themselves After the Tragedy in Charlottesville

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This blog is not political. It is about being a hopeful, loving, flawed human being in a broken world. It is about being a mother, a teacher, a woman, and a friend who wants things to be better.

And it is as a mother that I can't, in good conscience, quietly ignore the uprising of hate in our country or turn a blind eye to the tragic events in Charlottesville last week.

We HAVE to bring this train to a screeching halt right now. This very minute. We MUST stop ourselves in our tracks and ask ourselves some tough questions. ALL of us.

NOW.

Even though we have a hundred more things to do before sending our kids back to school this week, we need to stop. NONE of that is as important.

Because whether our children have the trendiest shoes or the right color of highlighter or the college ruled notebook with exactly 100 pages and a spiral binding is NOT AS IMPORTANT as preparing them to save a world that seems to be going back in time.

It's time for us to be honest with ourselves and make the decision to do better. Tragedies should shake us to the core. They should hurt our hearts and affect our parenting. When innocent people die defending basic human rights, we must ask ourselves if we are raising a generation who will be uncompromising in standing up for others. So here are the questions that I am asking myself, as a mother, right now, today.

What am I saying to my kids IN PRIVATE, when it is just us and nobody else can hear, to show them that I believe that we are all equally and wonderfully made?

What am I saying and doing IN PUBLIC, when my kids and other people are watching, to prove that the mistreatment of others, and that means anyone, is not okay?

Am I sharing the ugly events in the world with my kids in an age appropriate way and letting them ask honest questions and giving them truthful answers? Am I creating teachable moments, or am I trying to pretend this is not the world they live in?

Do we talk about the WHY and the HOW - why people become angry and hateful, why divisions exist, how to guard your heart, how we as a society can make things better?

Am I sharing with my kids that goodness, mercy, love, grace, and maturity solve problems, or am I teaching them to become angry and vengeful when the actions of others are cruel or unjust?

Am I preparing my kids to be leaders, or am I teaching them never to ruffle anyone's feathers?

In my conversations, do I model how to respectfully stand up for what is right, or do my kids see me smile and nod because I am too busy, too afraid, or too polite to disagree?

Do my kids understand that if they do not speak up when something wrong is happening right in front of them, that they are complicit, whether the law says so or not?

Do my kids understand that it is not only okay but also morally right to call out people of influence, even people we like, when they are promoting anger or hate?

Do my kids see me admiring others who model strength, strong virtues, and sacrifice, or do they see me glorifying people based on their talents, income, or level of fame alone?

Am I asking my kids questions about school, about bullies, about who is being treated unkindly and why? Am I helping them navigate the waters of social division where they are right now and encouraging them to be the hands and feet of God EVERYWHERE and ALL THE TIME?

If my child got in trouble at school for sticking up for someone, would he expect me to respond with pride in his choices or frustration that he broke a rule?

Are my kids confident enough in their personal value - which is not based on appearance or achievements - that they will not need to make others smaller to make themselves bigger?

If I asked my kids what they believe controls me the most, would they say the fear of what is evil or the love of what is good?

Am I spending enough time with my kids - at the dinner table, in the car, before bed - for me to continue to influence them as they become teenagers and even adults?

These are the questions I'm reflecting on today as we, as a country, mourn.

Again.

And our mourning cannot compare to the deep sadness of the families who have lost loved ones.

I'm tired of this, America.

Let's start fixing it, one family at a time.

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