Friday
Nov022018

WHAT DO WE SAY TO OUR CHILDREN?

I’ve been wondering lately what the state of the world will be like in twenty years or fifty years if some things don’t change, such as our rhetoric and mannerisms. 

                Turning on the evening news, we have to remember that the programming is PG-13.  The major headlines so often are ones about bombings, shootings or other acts of violence with maybe two minutes at the end of the program slotted for some sort of “feel good” moment.  Years ago I felt that we had all become desensitized from viewing the atrocities and carnage taking place in far away Viet Nam.  We have gone light years beyond that today.  Now it’s become more personal. 

                 I shudder to think of the human race dragging knuckles through the rubble of civilization, unable to communicate in no way other than by showing force.

                 “You look different than me.”  Bam!  Pow! 

                “You have different religious beliefs.”  Crack!  Slam!

                “You’re in my face.”  Kapow!  Thump!  “I just want to hurt someone and hear them cry as I have                  cried.” 

                We want our children to have a good life.  We send them to school to learn how to read and write and become good citizens of the world.  We send them to houses of worship to learn that if they are good there will be a better place for them someday.  When they turn out less than perfect, we blame what they’ve learned from television or video games or gang influence. 

                But what have we taught them?  Have we taught them that anger rules?  A simple game of baseball or soccer among youngsters can turn ugly when parents lash out at the coaches or referees and a brawl ensues.  A vehicle getting in your way on a highway is reason for road rage, worth endangering the lives of many. Sports and entertainment figures feel that they are above the law and moral decency.  Politicians teach our children that saying untrue or nasty things about their opponents is acceptable if it sways votes.  Too often fear can turn to anger and hate, and for whatever reason, is rationale enough for killing.

                We need to tone down the rhetoric and try to engage brain before action is taken.  Otherwise, I’m afraid civilization will break down into warring tribes that will sooner or later annihilate each other. By then, it will be too late to tell our children; no one will be there to listen.

 

                I recently read a memoir of a woman who survived the Holocaust in Budapest.  Her mother, who deserves to be on the lists of super moms, was able to keep the author, a teenage girl, and her younger sister and brother alive through the horrors of Nazi occupation.  They survived twelve-hour marches across Hungary in the cold and snow, sleeping on the hard ground or in the mud, with little or nothing to eat or drink.  Those who couldn’t keep up were rewarded with a bullet. They suffered in the death camps but survived there as well until liberated by American forces.  What seemed to be the worst atrocity in the author’s recollection was the sight of their non-Jewish neighbors standing on both sides of the road jeering, calling them names or just doing nothing as she and her fellow Jews were marched away from their homes.  TO SEE YOU AGAIN by Betty Schimmel is a story of courage and love set against the horrors of war. 

Sharon

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