Be the change you wish to see in the world - Ghandi

There's so much going on these days, in my life and in the world. It's so easy to lose track of something like a blog; it's kind of a conceit (in the fanciful trifle sort of way, not the ego way, but blogs are kind of ego-driven, as well).

I'm struggling a lot with how unkind the world seems to have become. It's due in large part to the recent surge in suicides among young people who have been bullied. I don't understand how the world we live in has gotten so mean, so cruel. How kids are growing up today without any compassion or regard for how their actions affect others. I've cried and wanted to scream this week as I read story after story of children bullied to death.

What are parents doing wrong? Because make no doubt - this is on us, as parents, and on us as adults. As they watch "adults" speak with hate and intolerance toward others, our children learn that it's okay to belittle and berate people whose ideas and lifestyles you don't agree with. "Adults" show them that it's okay to disrespect the president because you don't like a black man in office, it's okay for religious leaders to condemn gays for the way they are born, it's okay for people to burn other peoples' religious books because you have some whack-job idea that their religion is from the devil ...

Why aren't parents - all parents - teaching their children kindness and compassion? That's something that spans all religions, all beliefs. Why isn't the message kids receive today, regardless of their faith or lack of faith, that people deserve compassion and a basic respect of their right to just *be*?

I've been laboring, daily, to underscore to my children that I don't care about perfection or grades - I care about love, kindness and compassion. And while I know those are qualities that still need work in me, I hope they still hear me.

The Dalai Lama said: "I believe that at every level of society - familial, tribal, national and international - the key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion." I believe this too. Can I count on you, my friends and family, to work toward a similar goal? Because if we don't all do something to turn the tide, I fear that one day the child whose life is lost will be one that hits much closer to home.

Encourage your children to love and laugh, to embrace one another. To cherish that which makes them different and nurture that which makes them the same. To have kindness and compassion in the hearts above all else. I'm so scared of the world that I see now - and I know that you are too. Let's change it, starting now.

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