Teach Your Children
We as a nation seem to be migrating from one crisis to another. What is becoming of increasing concern is that these crises appear to be further dividing Americans from one another when in the past most crises have brought American’s together.
It has always been said not to discuss politics, race or religion in mixed company, but there are times that perhaps this is not the best choice. The goal today is to get folks to think a bit, partly about current events, but fundamentally as to why things are the way they are because at the end of the day our problem is that we really do not learn well from our mistakes. And that is why history sadly seems to repeat itself.
Our Peds First team comes from a wide variety of backgrounds racially, ethnically, politically, and in just about any which way one would try to classify a person. Some of us were born in this country, others not. We all respect each other and dwell on the common ground that unites us. We are blessed to live in a nation founded on principles of liberty and freedom, though recognize that the founders’ intent has not been fully realized in all situations.
Starting with some basics…people are generally not inspired to pick up, with or without family, and leave their nation of origin. This nation, however, is primarily built by people who did just that. Native Americans currently comprise less than 2% of the total US population. In this nation, those that came from foreign lands did so in most cases for one of two reasons. One, they left a bad situation – ethnic intolerance, religious intolerance, abject poverty to name a few. They came to this country seeing it as a beacon of light and opportunity. The second reason is that they were kidnapped and brought here against their will. This kidnapping and enslaving were performed by the same people who left their homes to escape their own persecution.
As a nation, we have been responsible for the kidnapping and enslavement of people of African origin, the displacement and killing of peoples indigenous to this land, the internment of citizens of Asian origins during wartime, among many other injustices. We have had a history of discriminating based on racial differences, religious differences, sexual preference, and just about any other difference you can name. The discrimination has been on individual levels and systemic. We cannot go back in time and change what has been. We need to stop making the same mistakes.
So, where do we go from here? How can we make things different? There need to be systemic changes. Some are going to need to occur on a national level. These involve legislation and changes that are way beyond anything we are going to address individually. These fall in the hands of those we elect. For all those older than 18 out there, VOTE!!!!!! Your elected officials have an obligation to move this nation forward. If we don’t participate in the process and select officials who will abide by the moral expectations we have, we contribute to the perpetuation of ignoring our history and continuing to repeat the same mistakes. Other needed changes must begin to occur in our homes.
Try to take time to speak with your children. Impress upon them that no person nor nation is perfect. We have all failed ourselves and others at some point in our lives. We have to accept that, be able to reflect on our experiences and actions, learn from the reflection and use that knowledge to improve ourselves and elevate those around us. Discuss the current events rather than shield them from them. What happened to George Floyd was wrong, and they need to understand that. They need to understand that there are people in all walks of life that make poor decisions and that they are not reflective of an entire class of people. Most of our police officers want to serve and protect, most of our teachers want to educate, most of our religious leaders aim to inspire and lead by positive example. Our children rely on us to teach them. Lead by example. Try to do your part in making sure the current generation does not continue to make the same poor choices of prior ones.
Over the last 100 years or so, our nation has come a long way. We have seen improvements in many arenas such as racial equality, women’s rights, societal views on sexual orientation and gender identity. Improvements are nice, but there remains a long road ahead. We can do it. It will take a lot of effort. But we have to stop generalizing actions to classes of people. We have to stop discriminating against classes of people. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?