With all the suffering in Ferguson and the recent reports of gang rapes at UVA, I just wanted to send out a prayer to the universe—a prayer for peace and healing, a prayer for change, a prayer for love and kindness over despair and violence.
Please, please, let us turn our world into a better place, one that is not mired in racial and gender hatred. Please, please, help us choose love and peace over these terrible acts of violence.
I wish I could change the world with a sweep of my hand, but I can't. How do we talk to our children, how to we prepare and protect them from these challenges when they grow older?
I've started, already, dropping little kernels of information with DD1, sprinkled in during talks about school or what her friends are doing, or what’s on the agenda for homework that night, or in the car on our way to swim lessons. She is only in elementary school, but somewhere along the line, I decided to start the messaging now, planting the seeds, hoping they will take root before she enters puberty and begins to completely ignore me (so not looking forward to that!).
Observations about knowing her body, that it's HER body and no one else's, that only she has the right to her body. That it's not okay for people to say mean things to her, that people in this world treat girls differently (the brownies did a lesson on other countries where girls can't even go to school). And even though we live in the United States of America, and girls CAN go to school, there are many, many people in our country who do not think girls are "good" enough, and they are wrong. That girls and women are just as good as boys and men and that’s how it should be. That people who are not white, like us, are sometimes treated differently than people who are, and that's not okay, either. We are smart and kind and loving and we deserve a place in our society, as girls, women, as brown people.
In the fairytale endings of whatever story we’ve been reading, I always add, you know, that prince is only a prince if he is kind and isn’t mean and doesn’t yell at people.
And every now and then we talk about boys, i.e. Prince Hans in Frozen SEEMED like he was nice, but he wasn’t in the end, and that’s why it’s really important to know the whole story about someone. That there are people in this world who SEEM nice, but aren’t nice on the inside. And while it’s our job to be kind and patient and fair, but it’s not our job to FIX people who are mean because they are broken inside, especially if they hurt you or people you love.
One day in the car on the way home from school, we were listening to the song “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast, and both DD1 and DD2 said, that Gaston is not nice. And I said, really? Why do you say that? And DD1 said, “Because he only likes Belle because she’s pretty, he doesn’t really care about who she is.”
So maybe my messaging is taking hold. I don’t want my girls to grow up mistrustful of the world, but I do want them armed with critical thinking. It’s a fine balance, and I don’t know if I struck the right tone, but I have to say I was really happy when they gave Gaston the elementary school/preschool smack down.
How do you stay positive in the face of such negativity and violence? How do you “win” by living the “good life” and hope that we stay safe and on the side of peace?
I wish I had the magic answer. Instead, I hold onto my babies and drop little kernels of knowledge and hope they take root and will bloom to protect them as they hurdle into the future.