Why Are We Teaching Children to Hate? Political Reactions Gone Awry

I have strong feelings about the current political situation in the United States and I am grateful to live in a nation where I can express them. There is Freedom of Speech. It needs to be protected even when we don’t like what we hear.  We all have the right to speak and we all have the right to march, peacefully protest and join with others who are like minded.  I think it is wonderful for children to see adults standing up for what they believe to be right and good.  That is, however, very different from having our children see us hate and sanctioning their use of hate language.
                          
Young children under the age of 5 are saying, “I hate Trump” and “Obama is stupid.”  I have heard elementary school students say, “The people who vote that way are idiots.”

These young people are repeating what they hear. I have seen people on both sides of the political spectrum post mean, name calling insults about each other on social media.

There is a terrifying lack of decency and respect for our fellow citizens that is seeping down to our children.  There is a big difference between “I hate Trump” and “I disagree with Trump.” You cannot compare “They are morons” with the sentence “I don’t agree them” or even “I don’t understand them.”  The casual way that children are using words like hate and morons and idiots is as disturbing as the hatred itself.  

If we have any hope that the future will be more peaceful and accepting, then we must stop teaching children that labeling, judgments and hatred is acceptable.  Isn’t labeling, judgment and hatred what so many people are worried about in this new administration?  Isn’t it what everyone is complaining about feeling – judged and accused of being less intelligent?

If we have any hope of bringing civil discourse and respectful disagreement back, we must stop teaching children that it is acceptable to stop listening and to simply declare the other side stupid.  Aren’t many adults angry because they feel dismissed and unheard?  Isn’t this great divide that we are experiencing a result of our inability to hear each other?

We don’t have to understand the people who feel differently than we do.  We also don’t have to demean the people who took the other side.  We can simply disagree and act to support our own beliefs.

Children need to learn how to positively affect change, not how to hate.  They should see us partnering with organizations who we believe should be supported.  They should see us peacefully and respectfully exercising our right to express ourselves to our government.  They should see us try to make good from what we consider bad by standing with those we consider to be oppressed. 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  Martin Luther King, Jr. who taught us about nonviolent civil disobedience.


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