We are deeply saddened and troubled by the weekend’s events in Virginia, and closer to home, the shattering of a glass pane on Boston’s Holocaust Memorial for the second time this summer. Just as Boston stood strong in the wake of domestic terrorism during the 2013 Marathon bombing, Boston and Massachusetts will stand strong in the face of rising bigotry, hatred, and terror today.
When it comes to our children, it is not enough to simply shield them from the harsh realities of racism, white supremacy, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and bigotry. Indeed, we must talk to them about such horrors, as difficult as it may be. Not talking to them leaves them vulnerable.
This article from the LA Times does a great job of providing age-appropriate suggestions for how to have these difficult conversations. This article from onetoughjob.org has relevant tips on talking about tragic events, while this one lays out how we can all help to protect children’s idealism.
The task of creating a peaceful world of caring and compassionate people is an enormous one, but it starts with taking responsibility for doing so. Parents have a special responsibility for teaching their children that love, tolerance, and respect for diversity make it difficult for hatred to inject itself into our communities.
Moments like these present a unique opportunity to teach these important values. We will do what we can to support Massachusetts parents in that endeavor. Nelson Mandela’s words serve as a reminder that it is possible:
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
- Nelson Mandela