I try not to watch the news too often, but I quickly find myself drawn in. I'm a very empathetic person and quickly associate myself deeply with others' pain. Because of that I've had to carefully maneuver through what I watch on the news or read online.
As I watch terrible things happening across our country and our planet and I see the responses of some it breaks my heart even more. Over the last week I have read some of the most hateful and disgusting remarks from people regarding different things going on around our country.
I sit here, and I think 'why'? Why do we so often feel the need to chime in on a situation with which we will never know all the details. Why do we feel entitled to comment on something we have nothing to do with. Why choose hate?
I remember growing up in a toxic environment. I remember going to school and many days not knowing who I was going to sit with during lunch, wondering instead if I try and eat in the bathroom. I can still remember almost every hateful and hurtful thing that was said to me during my Jr. High and High School years. The off-handed remarks by kids, the mean things said by teachers, the people who really knew nothing about me, I remember every word.
You see because our brains remember emotional occurrences. They remember the positive as well as the negative. And those memories can stick with us for a lifetime.
There still will be instances in my day to day happenings where someone will jokingly say something, or off-handedlly say something, that triggers a memory. That brings up the pain that I thought had been dealt with.
I write this because every single day we have a choice. We choose the words we say and the actions we make. And we can never take back hate.
As educators, our words and actions affect generations to come. Every single thing we say to those kids who walk into our buildings every day. Every single action we choose while their little eyes are watching. All of it makes a difference. Some for the good, some for the bad.
We have to take the time to stop and think before we speak and spew hate. Every one of us comes from a different background with different experiences and we can never fully understand the depth of each persons' upbringing. But instead, we must choose love. We must always choose an open heart and a kind word.
Because in the end love always conquers hate. Always.
If you're surrounded by hate and are one of the few choosing kind, remember as Margaret Mead so famously said "Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world, when indeed it's the only one that ever has".
Take the time each and every day to remind someone of their worth, of their value, of their importance. Because we're human, and we so quickly forget. Don't make the time for hate. Instead take the time to choose love.
And to the person reading this right now, who wonders what their value is, remember that you matter. I may not know you personally, I may not understand your pain, but there is one thing I know to be irrevocably true, and that is that you matter. That you are needed on this earth. That you bring something special and wonderful to the table, something that is irreplaceable.
In the end, choose love.