Look around the world today and you’ll be greeted with stories of social injustice, anger, and confusion. It’s overwhelming and stressful to see. I say this, knowing that my stress isn’t even a fraction of what’s being experienced by the people truly living it. As a parent, you have to walk the line between protecting your children and raising them to be kind, productive members of society. My parents worked hard to raise my brother and I to be open minded and to see people as a whole being, not just their individual characteristics. My Husband’s parents raised him the same way. I didn’t realize how much this shaped my world view until recently.
You see, because I was raised to see people as people, I failed to recognize that in this day and age there were still people who truly despised others without even knowing them. I know now that that’s a form of privilege. While I have firsthand experience with discrimination based on my sex, I have never faced the kind of discrimination many around the world do today. I have the privilege of not having to truly see it because I’m not forced to live it.
I remember crying when I found out I was having daughters. I was scared because raising girls means difficult conversations about personal safety. It means worrying that their clothes may be too provocative and catch the eye of the degenerates of society. It means knowing that one day they may be told that their sex is getting in the way of their dreams. (I’m all fairness, I worry about that last one for The Boy as well.) We have a long way to go before it’s time for them to choose their paths, but as a mother, I still worry.
So what can I do to make the world a better place for my children? What can I do to make my children better for the world? I cannot live the experiences that others have, but I can choose to open my heart and mind to their struggles and learn from them. I can ask questions. I can accept that while I don’t agree with someone it is still possible to recognize them as a fellow traveler in life. I can choose to fight for those who don’t have a voice through my actions and words. I can choose how I raise my children and how I behave based on my knowledge of others. I do what I can to introduce them to others who look different, believe in different things, and have different life experiences. I try to show them through both my words and actions that when we embrace our differences we have the opportunity to create a beautiful world. If they learn anything from me I hope that it’s this: 1) Remember that all human life has dignity and value. 2) Do the right thing even when no one is watching. 3) Don’t be an asshole.