One of the anxieties I’ve been fighting this year is this — > “How are my young kids going to navigate this very difficult, unpredictable, angry, teetering on disaster world? Lack of empathy, too much hate, and bad leadership in all corners of the world! How do I lead my kids? How do I walk beside them to help them become productive, compassionate, loving citizens of our God-given world?” These thoughts often trigger deep seeded fear. It happened tonight after Emma Claire fell asleep on me while reading a Bible story. But as I’ve progressively learned to take these thoughts captive I’ve been able to stop them and recognize a few things. These are my honest reflections and I hope they can help a few young parents out there struggling with the same thoughts:
- My fear of a “bad world” is informed and fueled by media (mostly cable news & social media.)
- When I brought in some “reason” to this fear tonight I was immediately reminded how I couldn’t even begin to count the huge number of neighbors I’ve had who were of different races, religions, political affiliations, family experiences, etc who have ALL treated us with RIDICULOUS love, kindness, and authentic friendship. (even in what the media might call the, “intolerant south”)
- I was reminded that I’ve attended multiple churches full of the most loving / humble people I’ve ever met in my life. They may get politically riled up (and some have their priorities out of line) but we all have our buttons & distractions. At the end of the day, a huge majority are decent humans who want peace, happiness, love, and a good future for their children and grandchildren.
- I was reminded that when I go out in to my community, I interact with countless people of all races, nationalities, political affiliations, etc who are GOOD. I can count on one hand the number of hate filled people I’ve encountered this year.
- I was reminded that when I lived in Rhode Island (one of the most progressive and liberal states in our nation), I experienced some of the most loyal and loving people on the planet. They have their buttons, biases just like us Southerners, and occasional brashness but I would go back up there to live in their communities without hesitation. They too are made in the image of God and are great citizens.
- I was reminded that during my oversees travels I encountered so many loving, peaceful, & selfless humans in the towns and villages we visited. I can count on one hand the number of hateful people encountered.
(Are you seeing the same thread I saw tonight?)
I’m still trying to study, learn, & interpret how media (especially cable news and social media) has poisoned us (Stephen Colbert nailed this idea last week). It has created a grossly distorted view of reality that makes me think my kids are going to have to face all of those hateful people as they grow up. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen HATEFUL words spewed for months on Facebook and in commentaries on TV. I’ve been ashamed and saddened to the number of good people who have been intolerant, inconsiderate, and hateful. But as I analyze the people I’ve encountered and experienced (in person), the evidence is OVERWHELMING that we live in neighborhoods, communities, & cities of people made in the image of God. Good people who are seeking love, hope, happiness, & peace. Sure there are bad people. But they are not the majority, not even close!
Don’t let this poison generated by media become addictive and don’t allow it to destroy your mind by creating unnecessary fears. If it already has, add some logic and reason. Pray that God would reveal the good in others to you. Remind yourself that people just want to prove that they’re right and you’re not from behind the safety of a computer. Remind yourself that cable news is driven primarily by ad money and they know that the biggest headlines, scariest stories, and worst outcomes get the most viewers and clicks.
Most importantly, remember that Jesus said there will be trouble in the world but to TAKE HEART (to literally have courage) because He has overcome the world. If you have faith in the person and work of Jesus, take courage and remember that even if things seem to be falling apart, we’ve got some pretty awesome family, friends, & neighbors at every turn. And that gives me hope that our kids WILL BE JUST FINE!
And if things take a turn for the worse in the hands of the powerful corrupt people of the world, there’s not much we can do besides love and care for those around us…our neighbors. Let’s re-prioritize those relationships before we succumb to fears that are significantly out of our control.
Thankful for this moment with with my daughter tonight. Thankful for the gentle reminder that my Heavenly Father gave me tonight.