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Parenting Revolution: A Small Solution to a Deafening Epidemic


Our world is increasingly becoming unkind.

After reading this article about one teacher's efforts to catch kids falling through the cracks, my wheels began turning.

We all know that there are so many factors to blame in how someone gets to the mental state in which it takes to follow through with a mass shooting. We also know the factors and debates in which go into actually executing that atrocity.

The talking points are endless, but one repeated theme I have seen this time around that is different than others starts with our own eyes, parents. And it starts when our children are little.

Before you go any further, I want to say it right HERE. If you EVER witness either one of my children repeatedly leaving others out, spewing hurtful words, or displaying unkind actions, TELL ME. I will LISTEN. I will NOT IGNORE you. And if I do, show me this exact post.

This isn't about BULLYing. This is about LOVE. Call it what you want, but if my child is showing a pattern of actions that don't define LOVE, I want to know.

I want to be part of the kindness initiative and solution, not part of the blind revolution.

I cannot preach kindness and love, then turn my cheek when my child is not being kind or loving.

The teeniest part of change starts with us being ACTIVE parents, INVOLVED parents, KNOWING parents, and ACCEPTING parents. This means when a mother or teacher or child comes to us and says that our child has been repeatedly {keyword} unkind, we listen, even if we don't believe it.

When we see a pattern {keyword} of a trail of hurt feelings stemming from a particular child's surroundings, we take note and we do not ignore it.

Cultural change will happen when:

We OPEN our eyes to our children's faults.
We SEEK ways to SHOW them OPPORTUNITIES for kindness.
We STOP DEFENDING their bad behavior.
We COACH them through mistakes.
We KNOW that girls, especially, display MEAN behavior when no one is watching.
We DON'T provide a child an EXCUSE when they are HURTFUL to others.
We ACCEPT that no matter how many times we teach kindness and how many Bible verses our children cite, our kids won't always make the right decision.

If we want to live in a VILLAGE, we have to LISTEN to that village when they tell us stuff we don't want to hear.

Why is this important? Because it only takes ONE child to hurt another enough to send them into a dark and lonely place.

Only. One.

It's not just about handling our children when their hearts aren't in the right place...

We have to be ACTIVE when our child expresses deep emotions.
We cannot IGNORE their cries, even if we don't always get it.
We have to be AWARE of our children's feelings and emotions and struggles and TEACH them how to COPE.

Furthermore,

We have to be PRESENT when we are with them.
We have to WATCH what they are watching. 
We have to LISTEN to what they are listening to.
We can't TRUST them to always make the right decision.
We can't TRUST them to always tell the truth.
We have to WORK to get them involved in SERVING others.
We have to TEACH them to have face-to-face relationships versus social media obsessions.
We have to be INVOLVED checking our kids whereabouts, their bedrooms, who they hang out with, what they are doing in their idle time.

We have to INSERT ourselves into their lives as PARENTS, not friends.
We have to TELL THEM NO.
We have to LOVE them when they make a mistake.
We have to GUIDE them on the right path.
We have to FORGIVE them when they hurt.
We have to APOLOGIZE to them when we hurt them.
We have to MODEL love and respect TO them.

In short, we have to get back to PARENTING.

Whether it's a suicide or a school shooting, our blindness to our children's treatment of others and the treatment they receive is detrimental to their mental health.

We have to BE BETTER about our level of ACTION in our children's lives.

While we should always be our child's biggest advocate in life, we cannot put on blinders to their decisions when we aren't present. By not trusting them, I mean we need to be very aware of our children's flaws and work to help them strengthen versus accept those flaws and defend them. 

I certainly do not excel at all of these points.

But I will be trying harder and harder each day because it is my job as a PARENT and situations like Parkland and the rising teenage suicide rate around us reminds me of the seriousness of my job as a parent.

Our parenting culture of allowing our kids to do whatever they please, watch whatever they please, listen to whatever they please, treat other children however they please, all while we as they parents act as their first line of defense (my CHILD WOULD NEVER do xxyy) rather than their first line of REDIRECTION and EDUCATION, is creating monsters that feed this problem rather than help it. We can't do much in these tragic situations, but we can change our parenting. We can toughen up, become involved, not allow our kids to be bullies or in charge of our households.

I don't know much of what I can do, but I know being keenly aware of my children's behaviors and emotional awareness (I have a lover and a fighter) can change not only the course of THEIR lives but can motivate a change for the course of others.

As a former teacher, I applaud this INCREDIBLE teacher for employing this strategy to seek the broken.  Hunt the lonely.  Stop the epidemic of the unseen from falling into the cracks.   

1 comment

  1. Thanks Meagan for saying what needs to be said. I was far from a perfect parent and have many regrets. This is where it all starts....parents I beg you, take an active stand and KNOW that you are the PARENT ..you are in control not the child. God Bless us all...we so need It! Thanks again M.

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