1. I have to teach my children to, first and foremost, be kind. Especially to those who need it most. People say they value kindness, but when I look at the state of our country and communities I wonder how committed we are to it. I walk the halls and am in class with students all day. I have seen the looks and the mean giggles towards some students that a few have thought it was funny to give. How it breaks my heart. The ones they are laughing at need acceptance, but may not know how to ask for it.
2. Teach your child to stand up for those weaker than themselves. We all must stand for those who are weak; those who don't have a voice. This applies to all of us. I have to do a better job of speaking up for the bullied and those put down by others. I have do it because it is the right thing to do & I want my children to do it too.
3. Treat others as you want to be treated. Did anyone else hear this growing up? I did, ad nauseam. You know what? It still holds truth today. Many adults need to live by & model this for our children. I'm tired of the arguing and hate spewed like black tar by adults towards each other. I don't care who you voted for; what your background is; the color of your skin; or what your religion is. You are responsible for you. You are responsible for the words that come out of your mouth. Choose to speak life. Choose to treat others as you would want to be treated.
4. Love big. Love is not a feeling; love is a choice. Everyday choose love. Choose to show someone love who needs it badly. Is it hard some days? Yes, it is, because some people are hard to love. There is usually a reason they are hard to love, but love them anyway. There is are two children at my school who do this so well. I wish I could clone them. They love with everything they are. They are not afraid to step out and help someone who needs it. They make me want to be a better person.
What I told this child as we talked was that I would do anything I had to do to keep her safe. I know other teachers in our school would do the same. It is a sobering thought. The best way to keep her safe is to help those who might be on the path to hurt others to feel loved. Am I willing to do that? Am I willing to show love and help others? My answer is unequivocally yes. In the long run, it's easier to show love than to carry a weapon or stop a bullet with my own body.
Making the commitment to throw kindness & love big!