It’s 6:30 in the morning and I’m snuggled on the couch with my little peanut giving her, her first bottle of the day. She’s staring at me and trying to grab my nose. It’s a peaceful morning; the sun is shining, birds chirping and the morning news is streaming through the boob tube.
I’m looking at my beautiful six-month-old daughter thinking of all the possibilities her life could hold. My heart is bursting with more love than I ever thought possible, but in the background I hear the news anchor talking about a car driving into a group of protesters. My attention turns from the big, beautiful, brown and innocent cow eyes staring at me, to the TV.
Just like that the optimism I felt for my daughter’s future turns to fear.
I often find myself pondering the direction this world is taking, especially while we were trying to conceive, but the reality of the chaos and uncertainty hits way too close to home now that we have a child. How am I supposed to send the most precious gift I have ever been blessed with, out into this unforgiving, hate filled existence that we call society?
The innocence of childhood is over far too quickly and more often than not the very hands that destroy it are our own. We birth pure innocence and we, as parents, are often the first to destroy it.
We are not born with hatred in our hearts. Hatred and intolerance are learned behaviors. They are flaws instilled and taught to our children by the very hands that gave them life, the very hands that birth innocence take it away. We taint our children when we speak ill of others simply for being different or for having views that are not identical to our own. Whether it’s done inadvertently or purposefully, it’s unforgivable and disappointing.
Identifying as Christian, Jewish, Mormon, Islamic, Atheist, Hindu, or any of the other 4,200 religions that exist in today’s world, does not change the true; we are all the same. We all live with beating hearts that push blood through our veins and anatomy that lies identical to that of our neighbor. Where the variation occurs and where the trouble begins is our brain. Our ability to manipulate our thoughts to fear the unknown, the misunderstood or what we can’t or are not willing to understand, is where we fail as a species.
Our desire to be supreme, to be all knowing, to banish all those who do not share the same thought process or beliefs, is what’s going to be our demise. Not nuclear bombs. Not Islamic terrorists or KKK radicals, but ignorance. The inability to co-exist with acceptance; that's what's going to kill is. What IS kills us.
I refuse to raise my daughter to fear the world. To fear people who are different than her. I will teach my daughter to be accepting of those she does not understand. I will teach her to keep an open mind and be mindful and respectful even if she does not understand why. I will teach her to love.
I want her to see the beauty in every person. To know we are all hatched of the same mold whether we agree what that mold is or not, it does not matter.
I am not Catholic. I am not Jewish. I am not Atheist. I am accepting. I am human and I will teach my daughter to be just the same.
So, tomorrow morning I will wake up, scoop my little bundle out of her crib, and tell her of all the beauty in the world. Of different cultures, different people, and all the beautiful things we are capable of. Then I will wish, pray and hope she never has to experience the true ugliness of the world. I will hope violence and brutality never touch her life. I will wish and pray that we as a society begin to teach acceptance and tolerance for what we do not understand before it's too late.
My daughter will be part of a better, more accepting world. I need to believe this.