But soon the pitchforks will be put back in their sheds. The torches will burn out. The anger and outrage will fall to the floor and dissipate. Some will move on with their lives and leave this incident behind. A few will continue to talk about this, and have fewer and fewer listeners, until they themselves tire from the words falling upon the ears of the deaf.
But most will wait. They will sit at home by their computers staring at the screen. They will stand in line with phones in hand until it's their turn to order today's new special blend of coffee. They will take turns looking back and forth between the clock and the screen in front of them at work. All waiting. Patiently.
Until the next incident. Until the next post. Until the next live video from their local news. Until something else happens. And then everybody can get back on social media and let the world know they don't approve.
But there is a better way. There is something more productive. We can all make a difference. This is where our youth come in. We need to take this opportunity to learn and teach. Our children will act upon their beliefs and morals. When we belittle our children, they will belittle someone else. They will try to find someone smaller or weaker. They may not want to, but it might be the only way they feel any control in their life. When we knock down our children, they will knock someone else down. It might be another kid right now, or a neighbor or spouse later. When we push away or don't have time for our children, they will do the same to theirs.
There are times when I get home from work and all I want is to sit down in my comfy chair, with my comfy sweats, and my fuzzy slippers and take an hour to decompress and watch a new episode of New Girl. But my daughter needs hugs and wants me to hear her sing her version of Taylor Swift's new song. My youngest son needs me to help adjust his handle bars and seat on his new bike so he can go for a bike ride. My other son just got finished recording a new song he wrote and wants me to hear how he mixed the drums with the guitar solo. And still another son wrote me a letter and can't wait to hear a reply. I can hear my wife in the kitchen doing the dishes as she's cooking dinner. I want to go help her so she can also have a chance to sit down and relax. These are the moments where we can really shape our children. These are the moments when we can teach our children compassion, love, and empathy. Just as the negative can impact a child, the positive can do the same.
When I listen to my daughter's song, I tell her I have time for her and am proud of her individuality.
When I fix my son's bike, I tell him I have time for him and want him to go out and experience the world.
When I listen to my son's new song he recorded, he knows I made time for him and love his creativity.
When I sit down and write my other son a letter, I am saying I have time for you and love our communication.
And when I help with the dishes and dinner, I am saying two things. I am telling my wife I love her and appreciate everything she does for the family, and I'm telling the kids that no matter how much you give, there's always more, and the smallest deeds can sometimes make the biggest impacts.
I teach my children to try to do something for somebody else every day, without expecting something in return. I do this by example. Don't just tell your kids the right move to make...show them. I ask that every time you see/hear something bad on the news, on social media, or out of your kid's mouth, you find a way to teach your child how to show compassion, love, and empathy. This is how we can move forward as a community. This is how we can survive as a society.
Put down your pitchforks and torches... you might learn something, yourself.