Our own children are watching

Our children may save us from ourselves. And save others from us.

Children aren’t born selfish. They are born self-centered, but with love and attention and the meeting of their needs, they grow and they share and they care. And then they learn from adults the finite nature of everything, and only then do they become selfish.

My beautiful daughter feels deeply. And she thinks rationally. And she draws conclusions. And she judges. But her world, like mine, is not black and white. Right and wrong exist on a continuum and laws are not the line of demarcation. Today, discussing the current crisis on our southern border, the separation of families in accordance with a law, Natalie raised the issue of law and how the laws in Germany during WWII were inhumane, but they were the laws. The laws in the US in the early part of last century were inhumane, but they were the laws. It is true that we cannot compare the refugee crisis currently taking place in this country to the Nazis of WWII, but were I in the position of those people running towards the US for a chance at a better life, I would see no distinction between Nazi Germany and the US today. The end result is the same. Prison, separation, desperation, confusion. To deny this is in itself inhumane.

I’ve seen folks fearful of those coming over the border, fearful of gangs, of criminals, fearful of the unknown, and rather than work to help those in need, our government and many of its people are choosing to shut out all, to accept that our existence is more important than the lives of those fleeing harm, that making a statement is preferable to acting humanely.

Our children are watching. They are watching how we treat those less fortunate. They are watching how we judge those of a different color, a different faith, a different culture. They are watching, and learning, and deciding for themselves if we are in the right or in the wrong. It is my sincere hope that they judge us poorly and with shame, and that they work to make things right. The Greatest Generation was one who failed on many counts, but who fought in good faith for the rights of the weak, who stood firm in the belief that human life mattered, who innocently believed in fairness and hard work. I’m afraid my generation is failing miserably on those fronts, and I hope our failure will drive our children to a greater good.

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