For some reason, weird things always happen to me while I’m out with the boys.
Last year I was nursing the Biddy in my car in a grocery store parking lot. When we finished and I went into the grocery store an older lady came up and told me I should be ashamed of myself for breastfeeding in public. (Public = in a remote spot of parking lot, in my car, covered.)
Earlier this week I was in a different grocery store when a lady with a pacifier toting four-year old told me that the Biddy was really too old to be sucking on his fingers… um, “Hi Pot, meet Kettle.”
Then, just the other day, the boys and I had to stop at the hardware store to get a propane tank for our grill. As I’m pulling in the lot I see a woman dressed to the nines pacing the parking lot on her cell phone. I also see a man with all the doors, trunk, and hood of his car open. The woman is shouting on the phone “In Jesus’ name get the Devil out!” over and over. I think to myself, “okay, she’s praying with someone on the phone, no biggie.” We go in the store, buy our propane and come out. Then I realize the car with all the doors open is the praying woman’s husband and he is in the car trying to find a snake. I start getting the boys into the car (which takes a while, but those of you with more than one kid still riding in a car seat will know that). She continues praying, then they get the snake out and she starts SCREAMING “In Jesus’ name, smash that Devil and cut off its head” over and over. So the guys (other men had joined the search by now) bludgeon this snake to death and cut off its head. I tried to shield the boys from this, but the Buddy totally saw all of it. Then the woman shouts “Praise Jesus’ for his swift judgement!”
It was rather a horrific scene. It happened pretty quick, and I was just getting myself buckled in when it came to an end. As we pulled out the Buddy asked me, “Momma, why did those people squish that snake? He was just being a snake.”
It wasn’t until a little later, when my sister mentioned it, that the full effect of what he had said really hit home.
“Why did those people squish that snake? He was just being a snake.”
See in all his three-year old wisdom, he could identify that the snake hadn’t really done anything wrong. It was simply nature. He could, however, I think, identify that the people in this situation may have gone a bit overboard. At the very least, he knew that he was missing something, he didn’t understand what happened and why. Now I’m not saying if I found a snake in my car that I wouldn’t be scared, I definitely would be. But would my reaction be to remove the snake, smash it, then cut off its head? No. That is overkill. And I certainly wouldn’t do it “In Jesus’ name.”
You see, my point here is that hate is a learned behavior. The snake was just being a snake. There is a certain amount of primal fear that comes with animals, I get that. But hatred comes from somewhere else. I think back about when the Buddy was going to daycare a few days a week. He was in a multicultural classroom. Not once did he ever ask “Why do the kid’s look different from me?” This was something he never noticed. Just like he never noticed that some of the kids had two moms or two dads. Would he be confused if someone started speaking ill of someone different from him?
See over the past few days there’s been a lot going on in the world with regards to ideas about who should be allowed to marry and what that means for the country. But, our kids, they don’t see this as an issue! Our kids will grow up seeing their friends being loved by their parents; some may have two moms, some may have two dads, some may have a mom and a dad, some may have a mom or a dad, some may have grandparents, caregivers, or aunts and uncles. But no matter who takes care of the kids, the most important part is that they are loved. You see love is the only thing that matters here. The pieces of your family don’t matter, as long as you have love.
I’ve seen so much hateful speech about these issues over the past 24 hours, it is physically making me sick. I worry for the future. Is the Buddy going to ask me in a few years “Momma, why did those people hurt that man? He was just being a man.”
As people who live in a modern society, I think it is time to decide HOW we are going to move forward. Are we going to continue to say that our way is the only way that’s right, teaching our children that people who believe different from us are somehow not as valuable to the human race? Or are we going to move forward, valuing people for what they truly are – people!
A Muppet clip for the Buddy! …
If we loved each other a little more, and focused on what’s makes us the same, rather than what makes us different, then maybe, just maybe we could move forward.
So yes, this week my three-year old taught me that I need to focus on love, because if I keep focused on love, then chances are that he won’t learn how to hate.
Now, some of you that have made it this far are saying to yourselves, “Well, my religion says xyz is wrong, and I have to make sure that people know its wrong.” Okay, you have every right to your religion, and can practice however you like. That’s one of the beautiful things about America – you are free to do that. However, remember that your freedom is not just yours, freedom is for everyone, not just those on your side of the fence. So when you talk to your friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, children, parents – whoever, just remember to think about HOW you are speaking.
A common phrase I’ve been seeing recently is “hate the sin, not the sinner.” Yes, this is good, a distinction of sorts, but remember that words have power, so when you portray something as “disgusting” are you speaking of an act or of a person committing that act? Can your children make this distinction? Most kids aren’t drilled to hate anything, they pick it up subtly over time. Every time they see you judge something they make a little note, just ask any one who’s ever had a child learn to speak… they say what you say! There is no going back, you may wish you could take words back, but you never can. Honestly, if some of the things that have been posted on Facebook are any indication of the conversations going on in peoples’ homes, I am petrified of what is coming next. Most people don’t post the worst things they say on Facebook, and since I’ve been seeing some terrible things, I’m scared for what’s being said behind closed doors. And please stop using Jesus as an excuse to say hateful, hurtful things.
I am sorry if this post has put anyone off, but I felt as a mother I needed to get my thoughts on recent events out of my own head.
Blessings to you all!