Children and Violence

I have been watching the news about the violence in Colorado, and listening to the anguished cries of people everywhere ... "why?"
As a mother, I wish I had an easy answer to all of this. But there is no easy answer.
What particularly disturbs me is that I see these types of attitudes everywhere, everyday. Our daughters will come home, and describe their classmates or teachers in mocking tones. They call each other names, and occasionally get into screaming matches. As I listen to these matches, and play referee, I wonder if anything can ever match the cruelty of children. Then I listen to adults, and no longer wonder.
But maybe this is where the violence starts, when the children are young. I am constantly after the girls to not call each other names ~ to not be cruel to each other, or other people. I have to remind them constantly that other people have feelings, and you need to show respect for others, even if you do not like them.
Some people might think I am wasting my time, trying to instill these values in our daughters. But they have improved a bit, so I am encouraged. And I don't think I am wasting my time.
Much of the persecution that all people suffer from comes from a lack of tolerance ~ for their beliefs, for their viewpoints, for their rights, for their choices. Persecution is not the sole property of Pagans; I hear many Pagans who, with one breath, will bemoan the lack of acceptance they have for their beliefs and who, with the next breath, will downgrade Christians for living their own beliefs.
My rights stop where yours begin, and your rights stop where my begin ... this is the concept I am trying to get our daughters to understand. Yes, we all have the right to disagree with a concept, or a belief, or a way of life. That does not give us the right to make fun of them, to insult them, or to try and prevent the person from following their own beliefs.
So I will not give up. I will not stand aside and watch and let our daughters pick at and make fun of other people. I will not let them make disparaging remarks to each other. I will not allow them to be cruel, or disrespectful. That, I think, is the first step, and perhaps the most important one.
I read something today, where someone asked: So what if you raise your child on an alternate path that teaches respect for others. How many other children are not raised that way? And someone sent in what I feel is the most telling answer of all: "one less."
I'm hoping that Oak and I can make it "two less."

Amberflame ~ 4/23/99

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