This is my normal Mommy Monday post. I don’t usually get into my thoughts about current events, but there is something that is just not sitting right with me. It did something to my mom instincts and it was strong enough that I felt like I had to sit down and talk to my boys about it.
Kids are so easily influenced. I mean, let’s be honest here, we are all easily influenced. That’s why marketing is such a big deal. Companies know what they’re doing when they choose who is going to represent them, and where they are going to advertise.
It has been all over the news the incident that happened in Ferguson, and more recently the death of Eric Garner. Death is horrible. The Bible describes it as an enemy. My point in this post is not to talk about whether or not anything was justified in how the deaths happen.
Here’s what I, as a mom, had to deal with.
We sit down as a family to watch a football game, and a group from the St. Louis Rams walk onto the field with their hands raised. No words were said. But their actions said “we think the white police were wrong when they shot an innocent black kid.” We start to watch a basketball game, and Lebron (and many others) start warming up in their I can’t breathe t-shirts. No words were said. But his actions said “I think the white police were wrong when they killed an innocent black man.”
What do we do as parents? How do we handle these kinds of situations? When someone with an enormous amount of influence on our kids decides to take that and use it to fit into his agenda? We have to respond to them. We can’t just sit back and let our kids think that it’s ok, and think that it’s acceptable behavior. I love how 1 Corinthians puts it. “I have the right to do anything…–but not everything is beneficial.” Just because you have the freedom of speech, it does not mean you should use it to your advantage, or use it in a way that is not edifying to people around you. Just because Lebron has the freedom to wear whatever shirt he wants, does not mean that he should wear any shirt he wants.
One goal I have as a parent, is to teach my kids respect for authority. You don’t see that much anymore. Kids are entitled. They think they should have anything they want. They think they are on the same paying field as every adult. There is no respect for people older than them. They are the on the same level. When they start thinking that they are on the same level as their authority? Bad things happen. See…it’s humbling to think of others as better than yourself. Lebron decided that his judgment would have been better than the police officer’s judgment. Maybe it would have been. Maybe it would not have been. Either way, he decided to put himself above the police officer and the officer’s decision. This shows disrespect for authority. The exact opposite of what I am trying to teach my boys. And it didn’t stop there. The president of the United States commended Lebron for wearing the shirt. So James was saying, yes…little boys who are looking up to me. Please question authority. Please tell the world when you think your decision making would have been better than the police officer’s. (and every other authority in your life.) To which Obama answered, yes. Yes that’s right.
The other thing I had to talk to my boys about was how race is often brought out in situations that should have nothing to do with race. The stories I told my kids that were in the news were about a police officer and a teenage boy. It was about a police officer and a grown man. Period. What I have issue with, is when people start making something about what it is not. Especially when it is people my kids are looking up to. I believe that these respected athletes (and many others) are making this to be about something it is not.
If I believe something is equal. I don’t have to say something is equal. It is just equal.
If I was going to buy a blue lexus, I would not need the car dealer to tell me over and over that it is not going to run any different than the red lexus would run. That it’s going to get the same gas mileage as the other one. That the speaker system will be the same in both. Duh. It’s just a given. He wouldn’t even have to say anything about it. When people who claim they believe we are all equal spend so much time talking about how we are all equal? It only shows me that they don’t really believe we are all equal.
Stop talking about it, and just live it, for crying out loud!
The Bible is incredibly clear about this. God created man in His own image. (Genesis 1:27) and I could go on and on and on with other verses talking about how God shows no favoritism, and how we are all equal. Why would we have to talk about something so obvious?
So while Lebron was ordering his I can’t breathe t-shirt, I was telling my boys the importance of respecting authority. While the Rams were texting each other about their clever idea of walking onto the field with their hands up, I was telling my boys that they should never put all people into one category. It’s never all policemen. It’s never all white people. It’s never all black people. It’s never all anything. We are all responsible for our individual actions. And while the president was telling the press how great it was for Lebron to be showing his lack of respect, I was telling my boys how important it is to show respect to our leaders and to every single human. While Lebron was proudly wearing that t-shirt, I was teaching my boys that we need to be thankful for freedom, but that we need to be careful not to use that freedom to put other people down.
Bad things are happening all around us. Let’s keep it at just that. A bad thing here. A bad thing there. Let’s not put everyone into any category. Let’s teach our kids that even if other people around them aren’t treating people equal, we still can. We can still be the good. We can still be the encouragers. We can still show respect. Let’s teach them that while sometimes the people they look up to make bad decisions, it doesn’t mean everything they do is bad. But it does mean we still need to make sure we are acting the way God wants us to act, regardless of what other people are doing.
Parenting is a hard job. And these things going on around us are not making it any easier. Make sure you are taking advantage of every opportunity to show your kids how to find the truth. We can still raise respectful, loving kids in a disrespectful, hateful world. We just have to stick together.