By Hannah Schenker
“Hate is easy, but love takes courage.” ― Hannah Harrington, Speechless
Children are not born knowing hate – this is a learned thing. They are not born hating another person because of the colour of their skin, the faith they believe in, the country they are from, their gender or their sexuality, or any other reason. Children come into this world like little sponges, ready and willing to soak up the world they have arrived into. And guess whose worldview they absorb the most? Us. Their parents.
We are all still reeling from the horror that unfolded in Christchurch recently. My heart breaks for all of those who lost their lives and their loved ones, and those that were injured. For all those affected – and the ripples spread far and wide. My heart breaks for anyone who has experienced discrimination, hatred and abuse – sadly it is all too frequent and experienced by too many. I am a privileged white female, living in a very white-dominant part of New Zealand. My little community feels very kind and loving in many ways. I too cried out, “This is not the NZ I know and love!”, yet I do know that discrimination, hatred and abuse are alive and well in our country, and it needs to stop. We each have a role to play in this.
We are all human beings – this planet is our home. And it is up to us as parents to show our children that ultimately, there is far more that we have in common than sets us apart. Imagine if we all came together, instead of raging against “otherness”. The children’s climate marches worldwide, on the same day as the shooting, show just how powerful we can be when we work together.
We can teach our children to value and respect differences in culture, faith, skin colour, gender and sexuality – this starts at home. We can teach our children how to live wholeheartedly:
“Perhaps the most inspiring role of a parent is learning and practicing how to heal brokenness through wholeheartedness. Wholehearted parents sincerely, repeatedly and courageously practice self-regulation and conscious-love with the belief that we are all worthy of love and belonging, not despite our vulnerability, but because of it.” – Lelia Schott, Synergy: gentle parenting resources.
Hannah Schenker is a freelance writer, editor and regular contributor to The Natural Parent Magazine. She lives with a touch of magic in Golden Bay, New Zealand.