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Teach Empathy

Oct 8, 2021 | Blogs

I was originally going to write on a different subject, but I woke to a tag on Twitter from a friend talking about a recent shooting by a teen in Texas. My friend and supporter tagged the Kids_SAFE_Fdn on Twitter to explain to the public the important work we do. It was an honor to have a friend and someone I respect endorse what we do. So I shifted my topic for today from what I was going to cover to a topic that I believe is why it seems at times our society is spiraling out of control. There were a few recent examples this week that prove what I’ve thought for a very long time. Last week there was a whistleblower that came out about Facebook and Instagram. There was a report on how the tech giant is putting profits before the safety of citizens of the world. This isn’t just a U.S. problem but one that is across the world and there are reports of social media destroying the minds of those in different countries. It has been my belief for a very long time that social media is more of a tool to divide us than to bring “friends” together. Being mindful of what type of media you ingest is important. It can affect your mood and make you irritable, use it with caution.

The original tag spoke about a teen in Texas, that was allegedly bullied and lashed out with a 45-caliber handgun that he “supposedly” found on the streets. What stuck out to me is how in the few articles that I read in preparation for this blogpost, he was bullied by classmates. As a child safety advocate it always breaks my heart to hear how kids sometimes treat each other. I often think back to my childhood and how I was often bullied because of a stutter and speech impediment that I had. I was born with a “tied” tongue and had to have surgery at a young age. I found myself on the receiving end of a bully many times. It wasn’t until I became a firearm instructor and the founder of the Kids S.A.F.E. Foundation, that I finally found my “voice.” I remember vividly at the beginning of my career spending a lot of time learning how to deal with my speech. I was able to adapt and overcome. I became a fierce defender of the kids, I wanted to be able to give them a voice. The difference between my youth and the kids of today is technology. In Today’s day and age, information is coming at our kids so quickly. It can become overwhelming. It is really easy for kids to bully one another, especially with ease from their phones.

Society is doing a few things very badly. We aren’t teaching empathy to our children. We also aren’t teaching them critical thinking skills or inner strength. We instead are giving every kid a participation trophy for just showing up. This is not a very good learning lesson. There are winners and losers in life. I advise parents that they want their kids to be the best in the room. We want our kids to be beasts, just like we were when we were younger. It might not be a popular opinion but, wolves do not worry themselves with the opinions of sheep. They just prevail. Part of what we need to do as parents is be active in their lives. We have to understand the challenges they may face. I know this is easier said than done. Inflation, the increased cost of living, and single-parent households make it harder to parent our kids. A solid foundation for becoming a decent human should be all of our goals as parents. We should also be mindful to lead our children by example. The way we carry ourselves and how we interact with others will set an example for our kids. We have to do better. I know it is really easy to fall into traps on social media. It’s easy to fire off from the privacy of our couch. What’s more challenging is not to engage and simply scroll on by. It’s really hard, but we have to understand how it affects our minds and how it can be viewed by our kids. You are the leader of your home, it is one of the most important jobs that you will ever have. The future of the Republic truly depends on it.

We need our kids to understand that everyone is unique and that is what makes everyone special. We should be celebrating these facts. When we celebrate them and give our kids the tools to succeed, we all win. The likelihood of violence goes down. The left touts tolerance yet from the outside looking in, their actions DO NOT support tolerance. This isn’t meant to be a political point, it is just an observation from my position in the community. When we pretend to be “tolerant” we divide people up and put them into boxes. This isolates people and is counterproductive to the intended goal. We should be focusing on being good humans, good neighbors, and leaders. Not focusing on topics that will continue to divide, of course, there is part of me that believes that this is all by design. The division drives the algorithms, which drives advertising, which raises revenue. It’s a disgusting thing, to profit from the mental health of our fellow human beings.

It is never OK to bully, we need to teach our kids how to treat one another and to be kind. This starts at home. We also need to teach our kids how to look out for others. True leadership comes from doing the “right” thing when no one is looking. Also to think differently from others is OK. Stand up for others, and treat each other with respect. Some of these important lessons that I share with others, especially the kids. I learned from my own experiences growing up. It was those experiences, many taught to me by my father, that helped shape who I am today. I’m very grateful for that. I hope that I can share these very important lessons with others. Be good to yourself, and your kids, and ensure that they are good to others. This will help save lives. Until next time. Be safe!!


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