The news out of France since Friday is tragic, disheartening, and deeply sad.
There doesn’t seem to be much more to say.
I am sad. I am sad about the loss of life, the injuries suffered, and the fear instilled in so many. I am sad that people who were simply enjoying a soccer game or a concert or just their lives were attacked without provocation.
I am sad that we, as a species, cannot seem to just let other people live their lives.
We Need to Teach Peace
We need to start teaching peace. And we need to start now.
We need to teach our children that violence doesn’t solve anything or create change. All it creates is more violence and death and hatred and awfulness.
It seems, sometimes, that if we could just eradicate the source of the hate we are facing, that the problem will be solved.
But it won’t. Hate will not be solved. Violence will not be solved. Nothing will be solved. More people will be dead, hurt, and afraid.
But we, the parents and teachers of the world, can teach peace. And we can teach all of our children. It is easy. You can do it.
There are many different religions in this world. They each believe different things, have a different concept of the divine, and a different set of spiritual practices.
We need to recognize this, and we need to accept this. We need to teach this to our children. There is no one right or wrong way to worship a god or gods. Even choosing to remain agnostic or not believe in a higher power is perfectly normal. We need to teach our children that religions or beliefs different from our own or their own are not evil or bad. Instead, let’s teach acceptance of people for who they are.
There is a rainbow of humans in this world. Skin tone is varied, with almost no two people sharing exactly the same coloring. This is not a bad thing. It makes us unique and beautiful. Instead of showing our children fear of people who look different, let’s accept each person based on the content of their character.
We each come from a different cultural and national identity experience. There is no one way to be American or English or Kurdish. That idea is inherently impossible, due to the nature of being human. Why do we put ourselves into boxes based on nationality, ethnicity, religion, or political party? Teach your children to own being themselves, while respecting the thoughts, beliefs, experiences, and opinions of others.
World Wide View
There is a crisis going on in the Middle East. Thousands, if not millions, of humans are fleeing their homes to escape violence of unprecedented proportions.
Let’s investigate this as a global society. What is causing this violence? Who are the targets? What can we do to help keep people safe?
Let’s avoid lumping people into groups. Not everyone in the Middle East, not every person who follow Allah, is a terrorist. Not even most Muslims are terrorists. Most are simply regular people trying to live, love, and be happy in the best way they know how. Just like most Christians, Jews, Buddhists, agnostics, and atheists.
So before we decided that the tragedy in Paris, or a terrorist attack anywhere, is a result of the increased influx of refugees, pause and consider. Refugees are fleeing a terrible situation, trying to make a better life for their families, and leaving all of their worldly good behind. Put yourself in that position. What would you do? How would you feel?
First, we need to teach our kids that everyone is unique, valid, and wonderful. Help them understand that they are not better than anyone else because of a particular belief, ethnicity, or national identity. We are all equal in our humanity.
Next, shine that love and acceptance out onto the world. Volunteer to help those who have nothing or feel helpless. Homeless shelters, women’s shelters, soup kitchens, blood banks, and countless humanitarian organizations need our help. Even donating money is a great way to spread the love you feel for others around the world.
Last, talk about all of humanity with love and respect.
The children we raise and teach today are the world leaders and change makers of tomorrow. Let’s help them to create a world based on peace, love, and mutual understanding, not based on hatred, violence, and misunderstandings.
Won’t you join me?