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I Forgot for a Moment That Children Are Listening

“I Forgot for a Moment That Children Are Listening” originally appeared on Tales of an Educated Debutante under the title, “Political Children,” and was reprinted here with permission.

Image Source: Adrian Wood
Image Source: Adrian Wood

I am sick of politics.

I’m so sick of it that I just want to close my eyes and turn everything off. Friends that I love and adore despise those they love and adore. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me.

Children are listening.

Women from all sides march; children from all sides hold signs. There is violence and there is peace; there is love and there is hate. There are two sides to every story and yet, it doesn’t feel like that. Debates are heated and there is no resolution.

Children are watching.

All of us travel on our own set of beliefs; it’s the burning fire that fuels our thoughts and ideals and beleaguered arguments. Yet do we ever stop to consider their origin? All of us were once impressionable children, emulating our environment like puppets. We internalized the belief systems that swirled around us and adopted them as our own. Those passionate viewpoints are intrinsically cemented in our personal history. All of us have a story; a past full of experiences and reasons that foster our beliefs into the people we are today.

Children are listening.

I screwed up. I shared my views, tainted by my own upbringing, and offered them to my children in such a way that to balk would seem impossible. When my oldest son spat Hillary Clinton’s name attached to a derogatory adjective yesterday, my face burned with shame. When had I taught my children that calling names was acceptable? Justified in the spirit of belief? Never, I told my son. We are better than that. Regardless of our viewpoints, our family abides by the iron clad rule of kindness.

Children are listening.

I want my children to understand my story, rooted in matters of the heart and history, but not drink the punch. I want their childhood to be a time for exposure, thinking, questioning, and figuring out what they believe is right.

I made a mistake and I offer it up as a showing of love. My beliefs shall not rule the mental landscapes of the four innocent souls I have been gifted.

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