I read an article this morning regarding the Westboro Baptist Church holding a protest at the Wilson High School in Washington DC regarding the new principal being gay. As I read the article and looked at the pictures that went along with it many thoughts came to mind for me.
First of all, no matter what side you stand on in this issue there is something extremely upsetting about children holding signs that use the word hate in it. HATE. The Merriam-Webster defines the word hate as:
a : intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury
b: extreme dislike or antipathy : loathing <had a great hate of hard work>
Do kids really hate? Or do we teach them to hate things? Liam doesn’t have in his vocabulary the word hate. I do not use that word nor do I like that word. However he has told me he doesn’t like tomatoes . He came to this on his own by trying it (an educated opinion). On the other hand Liam has also told me he doesn’t like pork chops (which I have never made because I do not like them). Since Liam has never tried it before I have to assume his aversion to them is because he heard me say I do not like them (a bias opinion). I can’t help but wonder if these children “hate” a certain sect of people or is it because that is what they have heard so much. There is something to be said in regards to the saying, “Little pitchers have big ears.” So much of our children’s reactions and feelings about things are learned from watching how we respond to things.
I really really dislike snakes. I am scared of them. However, I have run into the situation twice now while on walks that we came across one. I don’t want to teach Liam and Ava this fear, so as calmly as I could muster I let Liam and Ava take a look. We are shaped by our surroundings and the experiences we have. Without getting into a religious debate because that is not the point of this post, I can’t help but come to the conclusion hate is learned and is that not the opposite of what any religion would want?
I guess my whole point to this is we really need to be cognizant of the message that we are sending our children. Without throwing out too many cliché lines, our future is based on the children of today and I for one would rather live in a future of tolerance and love than prejudice and hatred.