Teaching kids to be kind to one another can be difficult, considering we live in a world fueled by hate and evil. It's also difficult to teach kids kindness when fear is an inevitable factor of life. In other words, my husband and I have our work cut out for us. Especially after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. We are the parents of six children, soon to be nine. People think we're crazy for having so many and willingly adding more. But, I feel it is a privilege, a blessing, and my duty. The way I see it, as long as we have more food than we can eat, more clothes than we need, more love to give, then we have room for more children who need love, warmth, and a family. And, honestly I can't think of a better way to teach our children kindness, then by teaching them to open their hearts and doors to those in need around the world.
Like I said, we have our work cut out for us. And, after the attack on Paris, hate and fear is on high alert. The news and aftermath of this devastating act of pure evil, has infiltrated every television screen, phone screen, and tablet screen in my home. I guess I could go on an all electronic strike, but what would that teach my children? Apart of teaching them kindness, is allowing them to know the true horrors of this world. This is where the real challenge begins, teaching them to stay true to their beliefs, not wavering, in the midst of turmoil. Because, I think we can all agree that the heart of kindness is always shown in the wake of tragedy.
But, now I find myself questioning how? How will I teach them to be kind to others when they fear that others are a potential threat? When, every corner they turn they hear hate spewing from the mouths of those who are suppose to be kind? When the question hangs in the air..do we refuse refuge to those fleeing from Syria? How will I teach them kindness when our nation is screaming 'no asylum!'? To be absolutely honest with you, I don't know what to do. What I do know is.. I'm just as scared as the rest of you. I know that terrorism is a pure act of evil that no man will ever be able to explain. I know that I don't want it to happen here...again. I know what my heart and my values are telling me, and it's not the same as my feelings and my fears. I know that If I succumb to my feelings and fears, then I will contradict everything I have ever sought out to teach my children, I will wholeheartedly contradict the very foundation that I stand on. If I stay quiet on this matter, what will that mean for the three Ukrainian orphans we have chosen to rescue from a war torn country? You see, what I believe, is that our God is love and our God offers refuge to all who will accept it. Therefore, this is what I will teach my children.
I will teach them kindness.
I will teach them love.
I will teach them understanding.
I will teach them acceptance.
I will teach them boldness.
I will teach them compassion.
I will teach them forgiveness.
I will teach them to give.
I will teach them how to face fear.
I will teach them goodness.
I will teach them optimism.
I will teach them to think for themselves.
I will teach them to believe, to create, to dream.
I will teach them to be doers.
I will teach them the truth.
And, the truth is...God was love. God is love. God will always be love. I will teach my children kindness by being a refuge for children in need. By loving people and accepting those who are different than me. By extending my hand and my heart to the victims of tragedy. By abhorring all acts of hate, evil and terrorism. I will teach them kindness by being a beacon of light in the middle of complete darkness. I will not let fear guide me. For if I use fear as my guide, I will inevitably give the power to those who are evil. And, that my fellow doers, dreamers and believers is absolutely unacceptable.