Can We Teach Our Kids Empathy in Today’s Climate?

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As a mom, I’m legitimately confused about the current President and administration. Not their politics. People have different ideas on policy, I get that.  And Trust me, this is not a political rant (I save that for my Facebook page 😜), this is a “what types of leaders are we teaching our children to be rant.”   Why has it become okay to name call and bully? I get it. He wants to Make America Great Again, but is there a reason you have to bully and demean? And if you do, well, maybe your idea of “great” wasn’t so great to begin with. 🤷🏾‍♀️Aren’t there any other ways to improve, adjust, change course, get your point heard?  The #G7Tantrum last month was just mind boggling. The whole thing stunk of a child that didnt like his options, throwing a hissy fit and deciding not to play. From the disrespect of showing up late, skipping meetings, and leaving early, to the name calling, I just don’t get it. And this week, at campaign rallies, the be-little and name calling of political opponents.  I don’t get how a grown up is permitted to behave this way on the job. I certainly couldn’t act this way at work.  I wouldn’t  allow my employees to act this way.  Is this even the type of behavior we would allow from our kids? “You’re gonna play my way and if you don’t I’m going to stomp out and call you names.” I literally put my 4 year old in time out about 10 times this past weekend for that exact behavior. Why? Because it’s not acceptable! It’s not okay to treat people that way, it’s not okay not to cooperate.  Sometimes my son would come home from school with a bad attitude, pouty and angry because other kids mistreated him or irritated him during the day. Sometimes his ideas of mistreatment are kinda in his head, and sometimes real.  But either way, the first thing I try to do is try to understand why a person is behaving in a hurtful way. The next step is to find ways to tell them how you feel, next try to find a compromise, next find an adult (a mediator), and if all else fails, walk away.  The solution is never to turn around and make them feel bad too! What good does that do? Turns my son into a mean bully and gets another kids’ feeling hurt. I mean, come on there are basic principals of human decency that we all should follow, but especially leaders.

Look, politics aside, I think we all need to stop and take a long, hard look at how we deal with each other. How we work together, play together. When we hear ideas we don’t like, we can’t just go into tantrum mode.  It’s hard. Especially right now:  we’re all on edge. Over worked, over tech-ed, over-everything. But ultimately, we may all agree to disagree, but can we at least all agree that even our disagreements can come from a place of respect? I think we owe our kids at least that much. We owe them some ideals.  Especially those in leadership positions.  Do we really want our kids idealizing bullying and name calling?  I believe we owe them the notion that being in a leadership position, especially one with great power, requires courage tempered with responsibility, fearlessness sprinkled with empathy, strength guided by respect.  Can we all just agree on that, at least for the kids...

Crystal Ahmadi