Many of us are not able to process the horror, shock, and sadness we feel as we watch what happened in Minnesota last week and see the aftermath as it continues across the United States. Former U.S. President Barack Obama stated: “This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America.” He further added: “If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.” Americans should expect so much more from our country, our citizens, and ourselves. How do we, as parents, use these events to teach our children?
The Not-So-United States
What is happening in America? Our nation seems to be unraveling, and it is an overwhelming sight. What is “normal” is broken. Fundamental belief systems are broken. We, as a collective group of people, are feeling broken, not united.
The current events in America are about race and so much more. We can take this opportunity to ask poignant questions about humanity, dignity, morality, fundamental human and civil rights. We can challenge ourselves to discover the root cause of these incidents to put measures in place to prevent them in the future.
We should be asking so much more about these events and others like them throughout history. By asking tough questions as citizens, we have the opportunity as parents to discuss these critical issues with our children. Perhaps open, honest, constructive dialogue centered on change can heal and reunite families, citizens, and our nation.
Doing the Right Thing
The officer accused of murder, in this case, acted with “a depraved mind” according to the criminal complaint. In a legal sense, this means a person is acting in a manner that deviates from what is considered moral, right, proper, or good. If the victim was your child, father, spouse, family member, loved one, or friend, wouldn’t you have wanted someone to do the right thing to save his life no matter the charged crime? Were there people in this scenario who had the opportunity to do the right thing?
As we watch the protests, rallies, riots, mobs, looting, and violence continue to unfold, we witness some who are expressing themselves peacefully and those acting with a depraved mind. The innocent citizens in our communities, law enforcement officers, business owners, property owners, and members of the National Guard deserve for people to do the right thing to protect them.
Why is it so much more challenging to do the right thing? Are we waiting for others to do it, so we don’t have to be involved? If we don’t talk about the elephant in the room, perhaps it will disappear. Yet, we all have the power within us to do the right thing. Each of us can stand up, act, speak out, and do what is right while also giving grace to others. As parents, during this challenging time in our nation, we can teach our children about doing the right thing.
Children Provide Hope for the Future
What positives and negatives do our children take away from these events? As parents, we should expect so much more of ourselves in setting examples for our children. After all, they learn from watching us.
There will always be people who do what is right, and there will always be those who make the wrong choice. Some hover consistently in between the two. Our children, like ourselves, will test all of these choices throughout life. We should strive to set examples that are so much more positive for our children than what we are witnessing in America.
Let us hope our children choose to do what is right more often than not. Let us raise our children to grow into global citizens. Let us hope they value and respect life, human rights, civil rights, morality, people’s differences, and humankind so much more than we can even imagine possible.