There are days that I sit in fear for our children and what our country may look like for them when they are in their 30s and have families of their own. Children who are too young to vote, question why there are riots, ask me about my opinion and how it can be so different from others. When I explain that ultimately most Americans want the same things for ourselves and each other; a safe home for our family, equality, opportunity, financial stability, love for one another. These are all common denominators.
My children ask, “Then why are we so divided?” Unfortunately, we disagree on how to get there; and there are many facets as to why we disagree. We have built our communications so that we are fed information from outlets we tend to agree with and have closed off conversations with those that may have other opinions. These “outlets” make sure to point out why they are right and the other is wrong; usually using fear as their offensive weapon. Why? Marketing.
This is just one of the many patterns that has created the perfect storm of division within our country.
Technology plays an enormous role, although parents play a larger, more influential role. Whether you agree with it or not, how we express our faith and fears in current times will be a determining factor in how our children develop their own opinions; negative or positive.
I am writing this not knowing who the next president is, so please be aware it is not a reaction to the much-too dependence, in my opinion, outcome of that elected seat. I don’t usually write about topics outside of chaos and finding contentment specific to my own home, however, this has recently been a frequent subject in my house. I’m sure it isn’t avoided in other households. The questions I noted above have been topics of conversation. Some are very touchy, but I want my children to be confident that they still live in a country where they can express their opinions without being ostracized. Unfortunately, there are places in our country where they will be taunted for these expressions. They must learn to have courage and not condemn others who believe different.
For a couple generations now, mine included, we have been irresponsible and lost foresight; losing control of the flow of information in the name of target marketing, among other entitlements. Now we have passed this on to younger generations. The intentions begin with faith for excellent outcomes, but our discoveries come with unintended negative realities. The push for mass communication has created isolation and the information we receive has become more and more narrow.
I try to explain to my children that is important to keep friends who think differently and come from different cultures, as well as those who think the same. If a friend chooses to separate himself because of opinions, that is his choice and his right. I want to teach my children that we don’t have to be separate.
My daughter is unique. She thinks outside of the box, is an artist, and surprises people with her dramatic writing and expressive personality. I’ve had other parents question these expressions sometimes with concern. I explain this because my daughter is also a patriot. She loves our country and loves our rights that we hold dear. Because she is astoundingly intelligent, she has learned that many other countries don’t have what we have. She also has worked to understand the fight within our own country to have equality for all people. Maybe I am naive to think that all of our children can have the same pride in America along with understanding not only American history, but world history. My daughter has specifically asked me if America is going to be okay. I’ve told her because of her and others like her, we will be just fine.
This is what gives me hope for our children’s America. I truly believe they will remember these times and want to change the current, outrageously negative attitudes. Let me rephrase that; they will want to communicate the information that is the opinion of the majority. The majority of us are confident, positive, and just want to have the best life with our families that we can. Currently, the negative attitudes are not majority, they are just louder. I really believe that our children will begin to recognize this and shut it down. They will get tired of living in fear and negativity and build a new way of communicating that we have yet to see. Our children will be innovative and work together to curate their own discoveries, despite the bubble of information we are currently held in.
When they are in their 30s, there will be new conflicts; however, they will remember the disputed culture of their adolescents and find better solutions then we have. They will communicate first and have confidence in one another even when beliefs may differ. I say prayers that most parents see these prospects within their children. I definitely see love, patriotism, and courage in mine. I can confidently tell my children, “Yes, I think America is going to be okay.”