Let me start by making it clear that I do not intend this post as a condemnation or a judgement of anyone or anything. They are words meant for me and if they speak to you then let it be. This is a musing and an observation born of the pain I sometimes see and feel. This is a call for peace.
What are we showing our children we went yell at them? I would argue that we are showing them fear. What are we teaching our children when we yell at them? I would argue you we are teaching them fear. Our children are always listening and learning. If I’ve learned anything with my 5 year old it is that he is always paying attention even when it seems like he’s not. I see his manners and actions are both a version of his own and reflections of what he learns.
I believe that when we communicate out of anger and frustration we are teaching fear. We might see instant “results” from this but it always comes back to you. This goes for both children and adult communication. To me this is always a form of child abuse. At the end of the day we are ALL children. Don’t Christians argue that we are God’s children? Why then do we communicate with children differently than we do with adults? In many cases we don’t. We yell. We scream. We grit our teeth and send people to prison. To the grave. We show fear. We go to war. We drop bombs. We publicly lynch and literally lynch. We teach fear in so many ways to both children and adults and we WONDER what could be wrong with this world. What a mystery.
Every day I see people I have loved and admired sharing things on social media about mocking people and condemning people. I am guilty of it myself sometimes. “Look at the way they wear their clothes!” or simply laughing about how their father was cruel. Insert picture of a wooden spoon and laugh about how you were hit with it. Insert random guy on the street with baggy jeans and talk about how offensive it is. So many people of the this generation join in and laugh because that makes it feel alright. “I’m not alone. Other kids had their Daddy or Mommy hit them and they’re laughing. I guess they did love me all along.” The one that gets me the most are the ones about “What’s wrong with these kids today?” and they show images of a paddle or a belt. Yeah if we just hit our kids a little more then maybe we’d all get in line? What madness. Our abused parents create abused children and it goes on and on.
The United States is currently run by an abused child. He mirrors the feelings of so many abused child-adults across the nation and the world. On a daily basis he reacts in the ways he was taught as a child. Cruelty. Verbal abuse. Lying. Cheating. Denial. Neglect. Abandonment. To him this is love. To so many this is love because this is what they were taught as a child in one way or another. Either through direct lesson or observation.
We look at our “enemies” in foreign nations as if they just popped up out of thin air. Monsters out to destroy our way of life that must be destroyed. Our “enemies” our abused children. They were abused through fear by parents who were abused by their parents, etc etc. Not because it is done with evil intent but usually out of sheer lack of understanding what is actually going on. If you want to walk all the way back to the God we can but that’s a long walk and wouldn’t change a thing and just get distracted.
My point is that if we ACTUALLY want the world to change we have to start changing it ourselves. That means changing our old childhood programming. That means rewiring. That means acting and responding differently. We have to forgive ourselves and everyone for the mistakes that have been made and ask for the forgiveness of our children and of strangers. That’s teaching. That’s breaking the cycle. That’s a path to peace.
A friend of mine wrote this in his blog the other day:
“Tell your children the stories. Make the recipes. Play catch. Hike. Fish. Go to the library. Take long rides down the country lanes. You know what you love to do with them.
Do it. With them.
And, as you go, tell them the stories. Sing the songs. Laugh. Cry. But, let them know they’re part of a story. Let them know they’re part of The Story.”
Whether we like it or not we are always telling our children, and everyone in our lives, they are part of the story in one way or another. What story are you telling?