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Stuck for Words

July 18, 2016 - Jen Zbozny
Edmund Burke eloquently wrote "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." In 1770.

I'm struggling today in the aftermath of shocking violence in my own home country and around the world. Again.

I'm a mom blogger. I'm supposed to write about how to get melted chocolate off of your new white sweatshirt or how to let your toddler school you in how he or she is going to allow you to potty train him or her. Today I can't do that. Today I can't be part of "good men do nothing." Today I have to find words that might slide into the air and maybe, just maybe make a difference.

As a mom, a thinker, and a writer with a platform, I can't escape the idea that what we do impacts our children. The country and world we live in now, where we're shooting each other because of assumptions we make based on how people look or assumptions we make about how others worship, that place? That's the world our children will inherit. Even though I don't know all the children in the world, I already know I hate none of them. I already know none of us needs any more hate. And hasn't it been proven to us time and again that hatred breeds violence of the game-changing nature?

Do we want that for our children? I don't want it for mine, and if I may be so bold, I don't want it for anyone else's either. I've said since Eve could speak, that hate is a word we've disallowed because Eve isn't old enough to understand it. I've said she can use the word hate when she's old enough to understand words like "bigot", and "holocaust." It made me sob in my car yesterday to think that recent acts of senseless violence in this country are about to force me to teach a little girl about hatred. Real hatred. At eight our children are so vulnerable to their own imaginations. They fear monsters under beds. They fear going to the basement. They fear getting an 8 out of 10 on a spelling test. Do they now need to learn to fear grown-ups shooting each other in the streets because of a blue uniform or because of their skin color? Are we really ready to teach our children that our streets might not be safe, because of us?

I started to sob again. Some children already live in that fear. Some children live in places where random gunfire might be considered common. Some children have been raised to keep their heads down and try to fly under some imaginary radar, because some children might already look like targets to people motivated by hatred. Some children already live with hatred as a constant. Some people might feel justified to hate other children who don't live that way.

And some mamas can't stand the juxtaposition of the words "hate" and "children". This mama is one of them. This mama thinks no amount of hatred is enough to justify that juxtaposition any more. This mama thinks all our children deserve so much better from us. I'm betting I'm not alone. I'm hoping and praying for a safe tomorrow and a safe every other day for all of you and all the children everywhere. And I'm hoping somehow, by writing this piece, I'm becoming part of a solution.

What about you? How are you helping your children learn to do a better job these days?


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