Videos on the news, information on the internet, guns firing into crowds of people because of fear, hate and anger. People hurting others. When bad things happen, how do we deal with them? This is at the heart of how we deal with each other and at the heart of our society in general.
Facebook has become our sounding board, but it doesn’t bring us closer to people. It is more like an advertisement to get others to join your personal ‘brand’. There are people I love that I can’t read their Facebook because it just hurts to read the kind of stuff they put on there. Churches, and organized religious activities are also ways we have expressed ourselves in the past. Political parties, politicians used to speak out for us, at least for some of us. But now, it seems like we trust them less to speak for us on the issues we care about. But no organization can communicate the depth of our commitment to others by themselves. We have to participate
This Sunday, our pastor encouraged us to look at our proximity to those who are unlike us, to develop relationships with those whose experiences are different than ours. I looked at my neighborhood. There are at least 2 religions, 4 races, and 4 types of families in our cul de sac. Creating connections with all of my neighbors will help to acknowledge the feelings our different cultures have about the events in the last months.
Over the last few months, my heart has been devastated by the killings of young people in Orlando. My muslim neighbors came to mind because I worry they will be persecuted for the actions of a few. Watching reports of police shootings and the brutal shootings by fellow citizens has completely confused me for the last few years. My heart has gone out to the African American children on our block because I can’t imagine having to talk with my boys about how to safely respond to a traffic stop and actually have to mention they might be shot. Seeing the rage taken out on the police in Dallas concerns me because of the officers are crucial to the life of our cities.
For years I’ve been teaching parents the ACT method of responding to childhood misbehavior: Acknowledge the feeling, Communicate the Limit, Target an acceptable alternative. These responses have become so ingrained, I use them whenever I have an uncomfortable or difficult conversation. But how do we apply them when the hurt is society wide? How to we communicate our hearts?
The limit that has been broken over and over in the past few months and years has been that people are not for hurting. There is no excuse for hurting people with your words or actions, unless you are protecting someone.
But what do we do to help teach this limit? We create proximity to those who don’t think, act, and live like we do. We create opportunities to learn from those not like us so we can begin to see the commonalities of all of us. And we talk about the limit, people aren’t for hurting. We think about our words and deeds from the perspective of others. And we cry with our neighbors when they hurt.
Our hearts should hurt for our neighbors, their burdens should be our burdens. We can’t lose one more child to hate, rage, and fear. So, I’m looking for ways to connect to my neighbors. Who knows, maybe they are looking for ways to connect to me. And maybe, just maybe, the children of our block will be saved by the love they received from their next door neighbor.
If you need to talk about recent events or events in your own life, call me. I love to walk through the hard parts of life with people and see them thrive! 940-222-8703 ext 700 or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org