The current state of the world is depressing. It sure is hard to raise good people in a world with so many bad people running around wreaking havoc — and the crummy people aren’t going anywhere; they are here to stay.
But, if I have anything to do with it, and I do (and so do you), then we, the “good people,” are sticking around as well.
I am someone who tries to remain neutral when it comes to talks of politics or religion, but when it comes to clear violations of what is right being made by those who are malicious, I feel compelled to use my voice.
And yes, you read me correctly, I am calling some people “bad” — not just their behavior. This mommy is judging, and I am using that term because human beings capable of such horrific acts of wrongdoing are more than deserving of such a description.
Bad, evil, wicked, malicious, rotten, useless, pathetic, second-rate — however it is you want to describe cruel people — they are tough to explain to our children; why they are the way that they are and why they do the abhorrent stuff that they do.
As a mother, I struggle to explain to my six-year-old why she must practice an evacuation and lockdown drill at school.
I have a hard time explaining to my four-year-old son how it came to be that some people genuinely enjoy hurting other people.
I have a hard time sharing with the both of them about how mental illness plagues some people and makes them irrational and “crazy.”
My kids struggle to understand why Mommy lets the elderly check-out lady at the grocery store talk to them and give them hugs, but that they should never talk to strangers when I am not around.
I stink at explaining why I turn off the news when my children walk in the room, and I even refuse to say the word “gun” or “die” if it’s in a book we are reading.
I hate that there is terrible sh*t happening in this world.
I hate that there are bad people who do bad things.
I feel ugly for hating them and perpetuating that hate on to my children, but I also feel pretty crappy when I think about my children being ill-prepared for how to deal with all of the bad in this world.
So here is what I am going to teach my children and maybe you can do the same.
Whenever they feel like there is a lot of “bad” happening around them, they are going to focus on the 3 B’s:
- Being the good. Being the good this world needs will not always save your child from tragedy, and it won’t always block them from a bullet — I get that. It will also not change the unfortunate, previously unfathomable, but realistic circumstance they may find themselves in — that’s a fact. BUT, what “being the good” will do is help our children to process and triumph through tragedy. Being the good arms our children with the knowledge that if that bullet does hit them, they have served their purpose here and are being called to serve another somewhere else.
- Believing in good. Because children must have hope or prayers or wishes or whatever it is your family wants to call it — something that works for them — that intrinsically motivates them to maintain the belief that there is good that can be found somewhere at all times. Think babies being born, think doctors saving lives, think people helping other people, think about you and those you love. Good is all around, and our children have to make sure they are focusing on it and stretching it to the max to ensure it is most useful in how it affects their life, mindset, actions, and so on.
- Balancing all bad with good. It’s a familiar parenting adage that parenting missteps can be balanced out with loving acts and positive interactions with our children — the same goes combatting evil actions of sick people. For every act of wrong our child bears witness to, hears, or is a party to, they must be sure to observe, hear, or do at least five acts of good. This works. While I cannot guarantee that positive actions (whether they engage in them or observe them) will repair the lasting effects of any tragedy felt, I can make the assurance that balancing bad with good can revive their soul. Additionally, it will help restore their heart and put their mind at ease, just a bit. This will encourage children to continue to hold the notion that life is not all bad.
Often, the fears and anxieties of children (and even us adults) can be lessened ever so slightly, or sometimes more, by having a dialogue around them and coming up with steps to deal with them.
Now you’ve got your action plan.