Some big concepts are challenging to teach kids. I've stumbled as I've tried to explain death, serious illness and pain. I've wondered if I am covering kindness effectively or if I am using the right words to explain empathy. Am I cementing those ideas deeply enough into their hearts?
Respect is another one of those big concepts that we desperately want to get right as parents. That we need to get right.
While I know that I am giving respect it's due reverence in parenting, I'm fortunate that I have a partner in these efforts. One who helps me take this to a new level in order to create a better tomorrow.
It was a Thursday evening when my husband, Glen, brought each of our kids a flag home from the Pride rally he attended at work. The kids were excited to wave their flags and march around, but wanted to know why the flags were rainbow instead of red, white, and blue.
I explained that these flags represented that we should treat everyone equally, that you can be who you are, and that you can love whoever you want to love. Certainly it was a bit simplistic, but they are in preschool.
The kids liked that answer and kept waving the flags until they got distracted by something else, like kids do, and dropped them on the floor.
Glen quickly picked the flags up and stopped them both in their tracks. He told them that we do not let these flags hit the floor. Like the American flag, we respect these flags and everything they stand for.
That’s the kind of world I want to live in.
That’s the kind of world I want for my children.
A world full of respect for each individual. Respect that comes from a principled place, that’s ingrained in our being, that’s held up high.
Beautiful respect. Awe inspiring respect. Respect that fills our hearts with joy.
Like a rainbow.
When I see the flags safely hung on bookshelves and bureaus, I know that we are doing something right. That the message got through that Thursday evening, and that there will be a reminder again tomorrow.
The world I want to live in, the world I want for my children...we need to create it. And I think that if we're all in this together, we will.