The more I think about recent tragedies, most certainly starting with the Charleston massacre, I believe change can only start with us. How we speak and how we convey our attitudes in respect to differences. I’m not even talking about the awful prejudices against people of other skin colors, ethnic backgrounds, or religions. I’m talking about our intolerance – that seems to be getting so much worse – against people who believe differently than we do.
Hatred and ridicule are rampant. How many times do we use the word ‘hate?’ I hate that politician. He’s an idiot.
How many times do we do this in front of our impressionable children? We give lip service to telling them not to hate. But that word comes out of our mouths multiple times a day.
We most likely really don’t hate that person. We may dislike what they do. We may oppose their beliefs. But in the majority of cases, do we really hate them? Or if we took a minute, could we see their humanity? The families they love and who love them. The things they’ve overcome to get where they are. The pain they’ve been through. Most likely, somewhere, we can find common ground. That’s the first step into acknowledging their humanity.
It starts with us. We need to catch ourselves before we use that word. And we need to stop before we let our feelings of frustration at why they don’t believe what we believe turn into something much worse.
Our children are watching. They’re listening. And they’re absorbing all of this intolerance into their psyches. And look what’s happening to us.
It starts with us.
Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved