Judging the Pain Away

In light of the tragedies that are occurring in our country, one mom encourages others to look past the tendency to judge.

The scene on social media that has become all too familiar lately played itself out again in the past few days. On the heels of a heinous event that defies what we have come to know and appreciate as humans – as Americans – we seem to forget what’s really needed to recover from devastation.

Empathy. Compassion. Love. Communication.

Instead, we’re using judgement to escape the pain.

Like many parents, I’ve had to have very difficult conversations with my children recently  surrounding gun violence, racism, sexual assault, the GLBTQ community, animal rights, the challenges of parenthood, and politics. I remember having the same types of conversations with my parents 30 years ago without the extra voices that social media can lend to our conversations. The voices that are the exact opposite of what I’m trying to teach my kids, no matter how old they grow. 

Empathy. Compassion. Love. Communication.

To those who feel that it’s okay to mock and to curse another person’s lifestyle based on sexuality and gender preferences, your hatred is part of the problem. The rhetoric that you spew not only affects the GLBTQ as whole, it also affects my family. Maybe we should chat when one of your children comes out to you and all you want to do is support them through the pain they experience from feeling different. It affects my Christian family who loves God and each other, no matter what our gender preferences are.

Empathy. Compassion. Love. Communication.

To those who think it’s okay to criticize other parents, your insensitivity is part of the problem. For many of us, it’s sheer luck that our parenting mistakes occurred outside of social media. But others are not so lucky. It hurts to be judged because you are going through a divorce or your child has a learning difference or someone else thinks you have endangered your child according to their circumstances, not yours. This conversation is one that I unfortunately had with the social worker who handled our family’s case after a teacher thought I appeared “distracted” one day and involved Child Protective Services in our divorce proceedings.

Empathy. Compassion. Love. Communication.

To those who think religious differences equal terrorism, your lack of knowledge is part of the problem. Religion is about deity, not terror. To hold an entire religious denomination responsible for the horrific actions of some is just not right, especially if you want to become the President of the United States.

Empathy. Compassion. Love. Communication.

To those who think women and men are treated equally at work, in life, and in regards to the criminal justice system,  your denial is part of the problem. When a judge sentences a convicted rapist to six months in prison, that tells women everywhere that violent crimes against us do not matter. When you use social media to tell me not to teach my daughters about feminism, that tells me that you believe oppression is okay.

Empathy. Compassion. Love. Communication.

To those who pick one scripture from the Bible, take it completely out of context and decide to use it, your unwillingness to read the entire Bible is part of the problem. We are all sinners, we all fall short. There are bible studies and experts and religious leaders who can help us understand God’s word. And believe it or not, that word can mean different things to different people. That’s the beauty of living in a country with religious freedom.

Empathy

Empathy. Love. Compassion. Love. Communication.

To those who watch one newscast and suddenly become an expert on all things, your ego is part of the problem. We are all experts in something. Stick to what you know and allow the real experts do the rest. As much as you have an opinion on the gorilla, the zoo, the alligator, and Disney World, you aren’t an expert and you weren’t there. You can have an opinion, but don’t drag those of us who think differently through the proverbial Facebook mud.

Empathy. Love Compassion. Love. Communication.

And finally, to those who see the spews of judgement and hate on social media and immediately launch into our own rant against those who judge, remember, you and sometimes I, are also part of the problem. We must not only forgive, we must make sure that our disagreements don’t turn into even harsher judgements of those who are also human. They may be ruse and insensitive humans, but they are also humans.

Empathy. Love. Compassion. Love. Communication.

So after the most recent family meeting we had about the ills of the world. Here’s what we’ve decided to do as a family:

  1. We will be concerned about a system that needs to have better controls of the sale of guns.
  2. We will be concerned about a society that forgets that athletes, politicians, and celebrities are human first.
  3. We will recognize that apples and oranges don’t mix. They don’t. Just like religion and terrorism.
  4. We know that empathy for one cause does not discredit another cause. Showing that empathy on social media is fine. There is not reason for any of us to play the “who’s oppression is greater” game. It’s not tolerated at home when we want to argue about “who’s teacher is meaner,” and it won’t be tolerated in other aspects of life.
  5. We will conquer this hatred with love. It starts as innocent as the mean girls in middle and high school, and can end with mass shootings. Regardless the situation, love with prevail.

If you need resources to talk to your next family meeting that may include some rough topics try these books (affiliate links included):

Empathy: Why It Matters, How to Get It

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

Mixed Me

Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions: Helping Them Understand Loss, Sin, Tragedies, and Other Hard Topics

America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America

What conversations have you and your family had surrounding the recent events in our country?

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