We can all do better, start today

On Sept. 14, the Register headlines included “Transgender bathroom policy is flash point in Fairfield school election,” “Bullying being investigated in Iowa teenager’s suicide, police tell TV station,” “Like falling into a pit: How to talk to loved ones about their mental illness,” and “First-hand accounts from the Spokane high school shooting.” 

As a human being, husband, father of six and career educator, these headlines grabbed my attention and made me pause to reflect on what is happening in our society to create these terrible, yet far too frequent, real-life stories. Have we lost all compassion, empathy and love for what makes each child in America unique? Do the needs/feelings of adults continue to outweigh the interests and passions of our children? Do the  religious beliefs of some create ideological battles that permeate school policies and a true lack of compassion for kids who are struggling to find their way?

I believe Daniel Finney said it best in his article about his continuing battle with depression, we need to “listen, educate yourself, ask but don’t tell, be present, embrace empathy.” His story was about dealing with mental health issues but pretty sage advice as far as I’m concerned when it comes to our children. At some point we have to face the harsh reality of the data…many students are struggling with issues that demand our best as adults.  We can no longer continue to say things like if kids would just “use the right bathroom, suck it up snowflake, be seen but not heard, or kids will be kids” and actually follow Daniel’s advice, we could maybe turn the corner with all the terrible things that happen regularly on the lead stories of this and every other media outlet.

How many more children have to die, be bullied, live in fear or wonder who is really there for them before we decide to be more compassionate and listen to what they’re telling us? Let’s commit, as the adults, to giving the next generation our best instead of what seems to be our worst. Let’s show them that we love them and care for each and every one of them. Let’s do better… and start today!


Human being, husband, parent and educator from Manson