Bands of dread, drenched my heart during bedtime last night. My son and daughter will very soon go to schools, movie theaters, malls, offices and someday nightclubs—all places vulnerable to an attack by a mass shooter. Suddenly, the friends opting out of parenthood seem so wise. Children deserve better than the hateful world they’ll inherit.
I remember choking up as I read through the names of children murdered at Sandy Hook elementary over a teleprompter. I left the TV news business a few months later to start a family and give my own son a name. The headlines kept coming. The shootings kept happening with more and more frequency. I can’t escape the stories— they’re flooding my social network feeds. Some of us want assault rifles banned. Some of us want to cling to our guns to feel safe. Some of us want to blame religion. Some of us call for prayer. Some of us wonder when it will end. Some of us want politicians to fix this.
I can’t listen to another sobbing mother call for an end to senseless killings. I can’t imagine burying one of my babies. My heart hurts as I watch the coverage of the shooting at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida. Hate hurts. Hate makes good people feel powerless. We are not powerless. Mother Theresa said in response to the question “How do you promote world peace?”…”Go home and love your family”.
Love means tolerance. Love stifles hate. Love means peace. When we love— we teach. Gun violence and domestic terrorism offer no easy solutions. Imagine if Omar Mateen (even if he saw something he didn’t like or didn’t understand in the world) simply went home and fixated on loving his family instead of killing. Or if the San Bernardino shooters simply went home and loved their families instead of spreading hate.
It’s not glamorous or especially swift but we all hold the power to love our families more and to accept each other and our children more fully. I truly believe children and people allowed to be themselves; gay, straight, or otherwise don’t grow up to hate others who are different. They don’t see two men kissing and want to slaughter fifty innocent people. They simply grow up and go home and love their own families. So let’s do that before we do anything else. If we master loving our families we can focus on doing a better job of loving our neighbors too. We can speak out kindly when we hear a word of intolerance or hate spoken in our homes. We can model tolerance, grace and remind each other love teaches. Let’s all promise to become better teachers. The world needs us.