Whatever Happened to Love Thy Neighbor?
Being a stay-at-home mom comes with challenges, many of them I write about. One of the greatest things about being around kids all the time is that it’s really easy to remember right from wrong. All day long I am teaching my kids about how to ask nicely, be respectful, be nice to everybody, don’t hit, share and take turns. One of the main things that Oliver is working on in therapy is listening to other kids’ ideas. He has trouble playing with other kids sometimes because he is so fixated on his stuff that he doesn’t want to do anything else. Max, bless his little heart, is used to letting Oliver lead the way when they are playing. Because of this dynamic, Oliver has a hard time understanding that other kids like to do different stuff than him. For example, we had some girls over and they wanted to play house. He wanted to play baby Yoshi’s egg, which is the name he’s given a game where he hides under a blanket and you have to wake him up. The girls didn’t want to do that so he ran away crying. He kept trying to change their minds about the game with no luck. Of course, in the moment, the whole situation broke my heart. I was thinking, come on girls! Just play Yoshi’s egg! It kills me to watch him struggle to interact, but it also gets me thinking about bigger things. Learning that other people are different is an invaluable skill to have in the long run. Other people think about things differently, have different interests and different needs. Luckily my kids are learning at a very young age that it’s important to be flexible and kind when you are dealing with others, even when you want to do something else.
Now, I was also watching my niece and nephew this week which made kid life all consuming. I didn’t get much time to follow the news, read or listen to my pods. I was pretty much disconnected from everything Trump for about 5 days aside from reading a few headlines. Yesterday I got back on my routine. The juxtaposition of all things kid to Washington politics was unbelievable. I don’t realize how desensitized I become to all the BS that happens on a daily basis. The purity of little kids makes the behavior of adults look so disgusting I can’t believe my eyes.
For starters, a top official of HHS ( Health and Human Services) said that he warned the Trump administration that the zero tolerance policy would have lasting psychological effects on children. Here is a quote from Commander Jonathon D. White of HHS:
"[the HHS officials were worried] about any policy which would result in family separation due to concerns we had about the best interests of the child."
"There's no question that separation of children from parents entails significant potential for traumatic psychological injury to the child.”
The White House then responded to the department with “there was no policy which would result in separation of children from family units." That was a flat lie. There have been multiple times the administration has said the policy was to deter immigrants. That, to me, means that they knew they would hurt people and that was the intention. They wanted to hurt these people so they would run home and tell people not to come so the same wouldn’t happen to them. They lied about it so the department wouldn’t stop them. What happened along the way that made us forget what we teach our kids? You’re not suppose to purposefully hurt other people or lie? Whatever happened to the ‘Golden Rule’ or ‘Love Thy Neighbor’? This was such a blaring example of how we, collectively, have lost our way.
I had a twitter hater message me about how we don’t share the same ideals and told me I was clueless. He tagged a post I made about Oliver and wishing that people would be more empathetic. I was so confused. What are your ideals then? The opposite of mine? What’s the opposite of empathy? Hatred? Indifference? Can someone really hold those values? If my sons dismissed another person for their special needs I would truly be so disappointed and feel like a total failure as a mom.
Another example that just killed me was at Trump Florida rally. There has been a video circulating on Twitter of a crowd taunting, swearing at, flipping off and screaming at a journalist that was covering the event. I am floored that grown people think this is ok. I understand disagreeing with one another, but calling for the eradication of the other side blows my mind. I just couldn’t believe my eyes. I look at my kids and look at this angry mob and think to myself, when did this happen? How do we get back to being on the same team? That’s one of the things that is most disturbing to me about living in a red state. Would people around here do the same thing? I don’t know to be honest. I feel helpless. All I can do is teach my kids that this isn’t ok. Hopefully they take my word for it because it seems like there are plenty of people out there that will tell them the complete opposite.
There’s hope of course. Trump broke Washington. In a way, he’s breaking us all. He’s shining a light on all the problems we have in society and in politics. He didn't invent any of these problems, he just gives us permission to act on our worst instincts. He’s making us confront things that we haven’t had to confront, at least in my lifetime. He’s making us take a side. He’s forcing us to figure out who we really are. There are so many good candidates running for office now that I think there might be a brighter future. We just have to make it through this period of time. It's always darkest before the dawn, right? Good has to win. It has to. Good will only win if people get out to vote in this upcoming election and every single one going forward. Most people are good. I have to believe that.
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