Hate is too great a burden to bear.
This was not my initial blog for today but given recent events I felt compelled to change my course. It’s a hard topic to broach and to grasp a firm hold on but it is a topic that I know is weighing heavily on many of us after the events in Las Vegas. How do we rise from such a horrific tragedy? As individuals as families as human beings? How do we bridge that gap and like a phoenix, rise from the ashes? I don’t have the answers but I do have some ideas that I either implement or will work at implementing moving forward.
Bridging the Gap as Individuals
How as individuals do we turn the hate to love? I mean we watch the news, we listen to media, we read posts and tweets and our opinions lay in wait to be influenced by outside resources. What can we do to help impact turning the tables?
Don’t use the word.
If I’m being honest, I don’t even like to use the word hate. I don’t use it in my every day life, I rarely if ever say “I hate xyz”. I simply don’t like the negative connotation of the word. It’s easy - don’t use the ‘h’ word.
Don’t believe everything you hear, read, watch.
Let’s face it - nowadays we are inundated with people’s opinions, people’s viewpoints, people’s expert advice. I’m of the personal belief that you can’t believe it all. You simply can’t. Perception is reality and everyone’s individual perception is not the same. So take what you’re being exposed to with a grain of salt and form your own opinion based off of your own life experience and your own set of values.
Be the example.
This is one that I truly believe in and I think is far more powerful than what people realize. Be the example that you want others to emulate. Be that person that you admire. You want to bridge that gap? Than walk the walk. Think of the kindest, most compassionate, positive person you know and BE THAT PERSON. Positive breeds positive breeds positive.
Bridging the Gap as Families
Y’all know how much I love family time and being a part of a family and our babies and all that stuff. It is what makes me whom I am. As families, we need to play a major role in helping teach and guide our children on how to bridge the gap from hate to love and provide for them tools to allow them to do so.
You knew I was going to bring this up and it’s one of the hardest things for parents and children I think to learn and implement. We need to be accountable. To one another. For our actions. For our lack of actions. If we raise the bar as parents as to how we expect our children to behave, how we expect them to treat others and we actually follow through as a family on those expectations, hold them accountable - they learn about repercussions for their actions - both positive and not so much. And they learn problem solving. And often times it’s far harder on the parent than it is the child.
Be aware of their social media.
Look at their social media and see what they are reading, watching, listening to from outside influences. Children and young adults in particular are so susceptible to outside influences and by osmosis they take on others opinions in order to be part of the group. Open up the door to discussing what they are seeing, reading, watching on those outlets or limit their screen time - age appropriately. There is a lot of information out there - and we all know it’s not all factual.
Have conversations and then have them again.
There has got to be communication. Talk with your children, talk as a family about what is going on. Get their feelings on it. Have a family discussion about hate. What it means. How it makes you feel. How to handle it. How to combat it. And have the conversation time and time again.
Bridging the Gap as Humans
At the end of the day, we are all one and the same. All cut from the same cloth. And as human beings, the responsibility to bridge that gap and end the divisiveness is our responsibility as a whole. How can we do it?
Yes. Simple. Easy. Costs nada. Be kind. Hold open the door. Smile when you walk by someone. Keep your fingers in check when someone cuts you off. Don’t assume malicious intent. I am a firm believer that kindness is contagious and hear stores all the time about how a random act of kindness completely altered someone’s day. Just be kind to others.
Don’t pass judgement.
Ugh. Yeah. I need to work a little harder at this one. It is real easy to pass judgment on someone else. If we spent as much time worrying about ourselves and our own lives and being a better version of ourselves as we do at passing judgement on others, well it might just be like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood! Take a step back, remind yourself you haven’t walked a mile in their shoes and just don’t judge.
Count your blessings.
Everyone reading this has blessings they can count. People in their lives that they are grateful for. A warm meal on the table. A hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on, a place to go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. A cold nose and a wagging tail when you come in the door. A body that maybe doesn’t do everything you want it to do but has a heart that is beating and allows you to TRY. Start counting your blessings, your haves. Because when you are busy counting your blessings and being grateful, you don’t have room in your life or in your heart for hate. And that kind of positivity - it spreads quicker than a cold in a warm classroom. Count em one at a time.
Bridging the Gap as I Know It
I would like to think that I am a loving and positive person - not a perfect person but at my core coming from a place of love. And I can’t no matter how hard I try wrap my mind around the horrific events that took place in Las Vegas on Sunday night. I struggle with reconciling how in a world full of so much love, so many amazing and beautiful gifts - events like this can happen.
I can tell you that I was personally impacted as were countless others. That as I read the stories, my heart breaks for every person that was there and for the families that lay in wait at home for their loved ones, waiting for a sign, any signal that they are okay. I have cried tears for the families that lost, been humbled by the heroic efforts of the first responders that were simply doing their job.
And that I feel hope as I hear of how people helped other people. Friends that rescued friends, a husband that fell victim while protecting his wife, strangers putting their own lives on the line to help those that they didn’t know. That in the face of something so mind-numbing awful there is still love for one another. And it is that HOPE that I will cling to desperately in the days, weeks and months ahead.
My brother and his wife go to Vegas several times a year. In fact, had they not probably just been there in August for Lady Gaga there is a high likelihood that they would have been in Vegas on Sunday. And I am grateful that they weren’t.
And I would be lying if I said that I am comfortable with them going again. I’m not. There will be a part of me always that will be holding my breath the whole time they are there, simply praying that they return home safely. Because life continues to move forward and they need to continue to live their life to the absolute fullest. And my love for them surpasses the fear that is born from the hate. Love will win with me every time.
Times are hard. And they are probably only going to get harder. We need to work at bridging the gap and crushing the hate. Be a work in progress. Be accountable and kind and be the role model for younger generations. Wake up each day and count those blessings because they are worth counting. Reach out a hand to a stranger and help them up. Together, we can rise.