In the Wake of a New Era, Let’s Teach Our Kids About Empathy | El Paso, Texas
Today, our country is experiencing a huge change. With a new president, always comes a new era, and it feels as if everything is moving way too fast for our brains to fathom.
Everyone is anticipating the big changes, the good ones and the bad. Some are pro-Trump, others are against him, it doesn’t matter, after all, we’re all just trying to do what we think is best for our country, and that is the most important thing right now.
Friends, these are important times. We’re now hearing stories of rampant sexism and racism, of privileged white men feeling entitled to women’s bodies, to immigrants’ rights. Some people are pulling Muslim women’s headscarves in the streets, showing us that hate is never the right answer. Stories like “Muslim women scared of wearing the hijab in the streets” and “LGBTQ+ people worried about their fundamental rights” made the headlines during these last two weeks.
But that’s not all. We also heard about college students going out to the streets, protesting against Trump, sometimes becoming even violent, and doing the same things they’re protesting against.
What scares me the most are the stories concerning children. We all know children are this world’s present and future; they represent our hope for a better, gentler, more equal and more tolerant world. And yet, we hear stories about children telling their fellow Hispanic classmates that they are soon going to be deported, or that they can’t wait for Trump’s famous wall to be built.
This gratuitous cruelty towards their peers saddens me. In a time where we should work harder for our country to be better, we’re stuck on this bumped road that is taking us nowhere. Still, I am hopeful, because kids’ brains are always prone to learn, and so, they can still change their behavior, they can still learn about how to accept differences, how to be kind, and how to be empathetic. And that is such a big relief.
As I said, it doesn’t matter if you like Trump or dislike him. What matters is how we deal with our reality right now. We can be mean, we can protest violently against what democracy has chosen, or we can choose the path of kindness, of gentleness and tolerance. We can try to understand the other part, to see things the way they do. This is the only way we’ll set a good example for the future generation.
Parents, it is fundamental to teach your kids about the importance of “acting”, of doing something if they don’t like their current circumstances, of seeing evil and trying to fight it with everything they have, because, as a wise man once said: “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” That wise man is Albert Einstein.
Teach them that looking away is not okay, it is not a solution. Ask them about their day at school, about what they saw, what they heard, and if they tell you about a bad situation that happened, let’s say for example, they saw one of their classmates being bullied, talk to them about it, explain how easy it can be to help that person, to lend them a hand or just an ear. We must be willing to stand up for what is right. We owe it to our children to model this type of behavior so they, too, will grow up and stand up for those who may not have their own voice. But most of all show them that acts of kindness, even tiny ones, are important and can change people’s lives.