We Have Duty

“We’ve got to work to save our children and do it with full respect for the fact that if we do not, no one else is going to do it.” ~ Dr. Dorothy I. Height … 

Perhaps may are asking yourself, “Save them from what?,” for as children they are sheltered from adult problems. Yet as adults, we often forget just how hard it was growing up–school, friendships, relationships, physical changes, and so much more that we are no longer concerned about as the dynamic of our lives has changed over the years. In addition, societal acceptance of adult situations and subject matter for younger children has blurred the boundaries of morality for many of our youth. And so it is imperative that we as parents, educators, guardians, and role models, task ourselves with saving our children from the multitudes of things that can corrupt the hearts and lead them down the wrong paths in life. We have a duty to help them understand the consequences of negative or addictive behaviors and how to instead foster and nurture healthy ones, to encourage them and build up their self-esteem and self-confidence instead of diminishing their spirit through insults, criticisms, and other disparaging remarks, and to always be authentic and not try to hide behind a mask or deceive others by being false or untrustworthy.

The fact of the matter is that most of the behaviors we have acquired over the years–positive, negative, and neutral–have been learned from our parents and from other adults. If the primary adults in our lives exhibit negative behaviors–physical abuse, mental and verbal abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, lack or caring, respect or nurturing, or any other form of violence or any other deprivation of basic needs–we will grow up believing that the world is a place to be feared, that lack is a way of life, that anyone who challenges us or disagrees with us must be put in their place. But if we are shown positive and nurturing behaviors such as compassion and love, mercy and forgiveness, kindness and gentleness, generosity and gratitude, fortitude and integrity, acceptance and empathy, we will grow with hearts filled with love that will pour forth into the lives of those around us.

Positive change in this world begins with the children–with nurturing them, providing them with love, and teaching them about love, respect, and authenticity. As fellow humans on this journey through life, we must recognize them as our brothers and sisters, showing them patience and empathy, offering them mercy and forgiveness, and treating them with respect and dignity–celebrating the unique soul they harbor within. And if I desire to contribute to this change, I must start by instilling positive traits into our future generations, and not negative ones, for our children need us for encouragement, for love, to act as strong role models who are willing to share our lives and our thoughts with them. As Father Flanagan, founder of Boys Town said, “There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking.” Which will I choose to offer?

Make a positive impact in the life of a child.

Questions to consider:

Why is it so easy to keep out of our minds just what is happening to the children in our world?

Why do so few parents seem to understand what it takes to be effective parents?

How was your life when you were growing up? If it was good, are you sharing that same kind of life with some kids? If it was bad, are you trying to help some kids avoid that kind of life?

For further thought:

“If we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on real war against war, we shall have to begin with children.” ~ Mohandas Gandhi, The Wit and Wisdom of Gandhi

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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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