It’s been sobering in light of the recent national events to see how impacting words are. All across the nation people are using words in negative ways to hurt, divide and argue. We’ve been reminded how divisive words are, and how they influence those around us.
I’ve thought about educators and how we teach school children about kindness, bullying, how to resolve conflict, and standing up for what is right. I wonder what our children think when watching adult responses to the divisive election and how we treat one another. Are they seeing a double standard between what they’re learning at school and how adults around them are acting? How are you and I modeling kindness and humility?
Our children don’t get their values from political figures. They watch the significant adults in their lives—parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, pastors, youth leaders, just to name a few. In a culture that seems heavy with anger and conflict, how can you and I model integrity to the children and others in our lives? How can we show real leadership when the national leadership seems to fail us?
- Think before you speak, post, or text. This is increasingly difficult because texting or posting whatever you’re thinking is now the way of life. But even if you don’t use technology, your tongue is willing and able to say hurtful or inappropriate things. When you’re tempted to say whatever’s on your mind, take a deep breath rather than spewing hurtful or harmful words. Walk away from a situation. Put your phone down, or go for a walk. Give yourself time to cool off before you respond.
- Apologize or ask for forgiveness when you’ve said hurtful words. This goes a long way with children, seeing adults do what is right after witnessing what they know is wrong. It also is the first step towards reconciliation and healing when relationships are damaged because of careless or hurtful words. Even when children aren’t around, forgiveness and restitution should be part of any significant relationship, whether business or personal.
- Asses your own prejudices and how you treat others.This election has forced many of us to face our own prejudices as we’ve seen candidates, supporters, and the media show bias. While there’s been an explosion of hate on TV and in social media, you and I must first ask ourselves what we perceive about different people before we start pointing fingers at who’s right and wrong. It’s humbling to realize you have more in common with others than what you think. It’s even more humbling to know how unkind you can be.
- Stand up for what’s right. Though you know this is important, it’s not an easy thing to do. But it’s necessary. As you and I stand up for what’s right, we not only model appropriate behavior, but we set the standard and hold others accountable for harmful actions.
In the coming weeks and months, you and I will have ample opportunity to show kindness, grace, and forgiveness to others. While we’ve witnessed many unhealthy things, we can change the current culture, starting first in our homes, churches, work place and community.
Will you join me?
Join me on Facebook for my series on Raising Godly Kids in an Ungodly World. Here’s session two. Join me there to see every one!
Here is is on Youtube (I can’t guarantee each one will be an a blogpost, so find them on Facebook or Youtube).