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Teaching to Hate or Not to Hate

Updated on July 18, 2013

Boston

Taken in 2010 while at the Lenox Hotel in Boston.
Taken in 2010 while at the Lenox Hotel in Boston.

I Choose Not To Teach Hate

On my blog, I discussed about how, in general, people fail to distinguish between a terrorist group and a specific group of people. As a result of that, I realized that it deserved a second part, specific to our children and how we raise them. Actively teaching your child right and wrong is one thing, but to acknowledge what is right or wrong in how we act is another story. Children don't grow up saying "I hate minorities", they learn that from how we act. As a side note, that picture was taken in a hotel room my family stayed at during the Penny Arcade Expo in 2010. That year, we stayed in the Lenox Hotel down the street from the Hynes Convention center. This was the area the bombing took place at the finish line of the Marathon. This picture is from a view on the other side of the hotel and also 3 years prior. I thought this picture of appropriate for the story.

My oldest son asked me a question that struck me as if I had done something wrong. "Why did the Muslim's do this to us?" I looked at him and I realized that they never really separate "Muslim" people from "Terrorists" on everything he has watched on the news. He's too young to know better, and it was my job to make sure he knew. If we don't teach our children not to hate, who will? They need a strong belief that everyone is born equal and nothing makes one person better than another in regards to race, gender, religion or who they chose to love. Even more, we need to personally believe that our children will sense that and mimic our behavior. That's why we need to do more than teach them; we need to show them.

Bullying in America has seemed to have gotten worse. We have children bullying each other until one commits suicide and the other laughs as if the suicide was one big joke. How did our kids get that way? I was bullied in school, everyone I know had gotten bullied in school. That's growing up. It seems much more sadistic and evil now, and I feel like it's my job to raise my children the way I was raised to at least prevent them from being the bullies. Though we experience bullying in our time growing up, I never would've imagined people would be so cruel as to show up to a wake and spit on the body or dedicate their prom to mocking the newly deceased that they could be arguably at fault for. My husband and I remind our oldest that actions have consequences, and if we find out he's a bully that he should be prepared for those consequences. If I bullied another child and my parents found out, I could be assured a stiff punishment and a smack outside the head would await me. My parents wouldn't tolerate it in any way. Why does it seem that children these days don't have that respect for others?

On the news, our children see hate. They see the Westboro Church that preaches hate. They see extremists willing to kill innocent people because of hate. They see people shooting innocent children at school because of hate. Their world is full of hate, and we need to raise a new generation of children with discipline, with love in their heart, and the ability to stand up for what's right. If we fail at that, our world might continue down this path of doom and destruction. I do believe that. Choose not to teach your kids to hate others because they are different.

I wonder who is at fault for this. Is it the news' fault? They never say "Islamic Terrorist", they mostly just cut it at "Muslim". Are we that racist of a culture overall that this distinction needs to be made? Absolutely we are. Are we that racist of a culture that anyone with tan skin could either be Mexican or Muslim or that anyone with almond shaped eyes are Chinese? Again, I will say absolutely. However, we can't sit back and just complain about it. We need to make it a point to correct this. Not all Muslim are terrorists no more than all White Christians are racist homophobes. All too often these stereotypes actually define people, and not in a Tosh joke sort of way.

I reiterate: we need to teach our children to be better than we are. If all they hear is hate talk, then things will continue down this spiral of cruelty and bullying. If they learn from a young age that a personality defines you, not something that is out of your control like skin color, then just maybe we can make this world better for everyone. That is a goal we should actively aim for and I will absolutely say "shame on you" if you continue to teach your children that hate is acceptable.

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