Yesterday when I was at church, my sister sent a text about the shooting in San Antonio. For her, it was especially personal because she lives in San Antonio and her husband, who is a doctor, was in the middle of a 24-hour shift at a local hospital when victims started arriving at the ER.
Like a lot of you, my family followed the story closely all day and just felt sick. It’s starting to feel like you aren’t safe anywhere, even at church.
The response to tragedy is always, “What can we do to prevent this?” And even though we have this conversation again and again, real solutions never materialize.
I don’t have anything profound to say, but yesterday I kept feeling like maybe we mothers are the secret. Maybe if we teach our kids to love others, even and especially those who are different from them, things can get better.
Yesterday I heard a lady talking about the idea of tribes and how it’s in our genes as humans to want to be part of a group. If we don’t feel a sense of belonging, we’ll look for it anywhere we can, even in dangerous groups that promote dangerous practices. If we never find the acceptance we seek, things can get ugly.
So even though I don’t feel like I can do much, I can try hard to teach my kids to love other people. I can teach them to stick up for the underdog. Staying silent when others belittle or demean another isn’t enough—our kids need to say something to stop it. And I can encourage my kids to be friend-LY with other kids. Some parents tell their kids to avoid peers who do drugs or participate in other risky behavior, but I say be friendly to them anyway. You can be friendly without condoning what they do.
Of course, this requires that we moms practice what we preach. Wouldn’t it be great if all of us made new friends outside our present circle? What if we all try to befriend someone who is a different race, religion, or “class” than we are? It would do a lot to promote better feelings between groups that are so often separate.
None of this is new or particularly insightful, but maybe things can change if all of us moms raise a generation of kids who know love always wins. Let’s work together to make our communities as happy and healthy as they can be so everyone feels a sense of belonging in an encouraging, loving tribe. •