This morning I woke up much the same as I have since Tuesday. I wonder if the world is in a better place than when I left it. Been going to bed early to shut it all out and waking up hoping things are changed. But they aren’t there are still riots, there is still hate so ugly I have to look away.
I walked out to my kitchen to make my coffee and there sat a picture my 7 year old painted on a canvas. I started crying immediately. It was so simple of a home, with a beautiful yard and happy people. I gave that to her. That is what we need to give our children. The right to peace and a break from the madness.
I had a friend text me about violence at her son’s school, I have a friend on Facebook who is purposefully posting pictures of bigotry since the election to remind us it does exist. I see news stories of people shouting at minorities disparaging remarks and I wonder is this really the world we are passing off to our children?
Then I beg even louder if you are a parent or a teacher please talk to these kids. Make them speak and uncover that hatred before it bubbles up and speaks with larger acts of violence or self harm. Please talk to them. We have to give them a safe place to admit to not feeling that safe.
My work has been hard all week, but I come in and we get in a circle. In my room a circle means one thing less judgement and kinder ears. I establish it the first day. It is where we can talk. We use our voices to speak for ourselves to practice doing that in the bigger world that is way less kind. We have to talk them through this stuff. The hard stuff.
The thing is their fears are legitimate. They heard a politician say borders closed and deported. They have been told conversion camps are believed in and felt the angry responses of a millions of women that were called pigs and and an object of gratification. We need to reassure them that campaign rhetoric is not the same as presidential rhetoric. But then we also need to reassure them that if words become action that we will fight like hell to protect them.
If we have those kids who are shouting “Go back home” or “build that wall” we need to ask why and demand better. God we have to demand better. I beg parents please show your kids better. Teach them love not hate. But if I can’t change your mind please think of the kids that are scared for their lives because of the color of their skin, their sexual preference or the fact that they are a woman. Also know I will protect all kids that are in my room with my body, my life and my rhetoric even the ones who oppress. It is my belief all people are one caring person and a ear away from changing. I won’t give up on humanity even when it hates. Actually especially when it hates. But God we have to demand better. I have and I do demand better of my students, my actual friends, my family and my own children.
My mom work has thankfully not been as hard because I have had a lot of time with them giving them those same voices. I just want them to love the world, the people in the world and feel safe in doing so. Also my guy and I have worked hard to hopefully give them a safe place to be who they are. If it were found that my daughters were one of the shouters at lunch or treating someone with inequality I would first be devastated but then that is when I would go to work and I would demand better and love them harder. Thankfully, I work hard to provide all three of them with a safe space to be who they are righteously in this world. They know we demand better and they rise to the occasion because children often will.
Then you wake up one morning and you see a painting exuding peace on the table and you know you have done something right because when it feels like the world is falling apart outside I know in my house we are going to be just fine. Far from perfection, but love and peace remain at the top of the list.