Whether we like it or not, our children are reflections of us. They are like little mirrors in which we can see the best and unfortunately...well, no maybe it is fortunate, the not so great parts of ourselves. Sometimes when we try to desperately defend and protect the things that we believe are the most important, we can be a bit overzealous. That zeal can take what we intend to be seeds of love and acceptance and twist and turn them into something that instead represents something ugly and angry, hateful even. Instead of our children being full of acceptance and understanding and most importantly love, they mimic what they hear us say and do and instead proclaim hatred and disdain for those that are not like us or who believe differently. I know that this certainly wasn't my intention, but I am seeing it nonetheless.
I am of course referring to the recent presidential election. I am so glad that it is over. The debates and commercials, the facebook status posts...all of it becomes so angry and ugly. It makes my head hurt and my heart ache. I hate to see the separation that it causes. Friends and families are fighting and arguing. I know that we have had several discussions about the "issues" with our three older kids. I think that everyone has their thing, that specific issue that causes you to vote the way that you do. For some it is economics or healthcare, for others it is the war. For my family it is the issue of preserving the sanctity of life. We believe that life is sacred and a blessing and that every life should be preserved and protected. Our belief comes from a place of love. It is supported by our Catholic faith and because of that we often pray for an end to abortion and that unborn babies are protected. Because of this, we chose to support Romney. That was my personal choice. Thankfully we live in a country where we are all allowed to make our own choice. That is one of the things that makes our country so amazing. We can vote to support the candidate that most lines up with our beliefs. To be honest I wasn't 100% thrilled with either candidate, but my "thing" was the issue of prolife versus prochoice. That is why I voted the way that I did. For me, personally, this choice came after prayer and a lot of thought. I believe that I made the right choice for me.
While I know that my older kids understand this, the little kids heard a lot of our talking too. In the heat of the moment, when you feel very passionately about something, it is easy to say things that come out in a way that is neither loving or accepting. I am ashamed to admit that I am more than certain that happened a few times in our house. I would never want my kids to shy away from defending their faith or God or what they believe is right. But on the other hand, this needs to be done in a kind and loving way or it completely negates the good intentions behind it. We need to remember that children come to us full of love and acceptance. It is the anger and hatred that is learned. When I heard my own children claiming to hate Obama, it sickened me. Is that what I sound like? Is that the lesson that they are learning from me? It is certainly not what I want them to learn from me. That is not what I want them to reflect.
I sat down individually with all 6 of the little kids and explained in their terms why we believe what we do and what that means exactly. Even more importantly, I asked them if Jesus didn't agree with someone, what did he do? Did he shun them and say that he hated them? No Jesus always promoted love. Even if he didn't agree with someone, he always loved them. That is what I want for my kids. That is what I want from my kids. Just because "our guy" didn't win the election, doesn't mean that it is ok to disrespect the office of the president, despite how you feel about the man himself. It is even more important that we continue to pray for President Obama because we DON'T agree with him. We need to pray that he allows God to touch his heart and guide him while making important decisions that will affect our country. Regardless of who is in office, they are only human. I put my faith in God and God alone. That is what I want to see reflected in my children. I want to see love, acceptance and prayerfullness in my little mirrors.