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Reflections: What Are We Feeding Our Children?

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reflections: What Are We Feeding Our Children? - They are the future

Reflections: What Are We Feeding Our Children? – They are the future

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. Confucius

What are we feeding our children?  Are we feeding them a diet of good or evil? Twenty years ago today, on April 19, 1995,  Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, committed a heinous crime that left 168 people dead and 680 injured in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma City bombing claimed the lives of  19 children; 15 of them were kids at the America’s Kids Day Care Center. The kids were dropped off by their parents on that fateful morning, and the next bit of news they got was heartbreaking. I don’t know how those two men were raised but, something in their life experiences contributed to their disregard for human life. When we start early in life teaching our kids to hate or exposing them to situations that highlight disregard for others, we are slowly but surely creating kids without a conscience.  What are we feeding our children? Are we feeding them a healthy world view where equity and compassion rules? Or are we feeding them a negative world view where anyone who doesn’t look like them is considered the enemy?

Some folks are so casual with spewing hateful words around their kids; they think they are too young to understand or that they are not paying attention, but that is not always the case. Kids watch and emulate and, one day, they might even harm us and others. We might come from different backgrounds, religions and races but, we are all human first. If we don’t put that thought in front of our minds in every interaction, we are not working to build global unity, just adding to the potential for conflict. Let’s feed our kids healthy thoughts and actions.  There is a price to pay if we don’t.

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” James A. Baldwin

We Feeding Our Children? - Scene from Oklahoma City Bombing

Reflections: What Are We Feeding Our Children? – Scene from Oklahoma City Bombing

It is my goal to love everyone. I hate no one. Regardless of their race, religion, their proclivities, the desire of their heart and how they want to live their life and the decisions that they make. I can even respect people’s decisions and lifestyle choices just as I hope they have the courtesy to respect my decisions and my choices. Kirk Cameron

When we commit prejudicial or discriminatory acts around our kids, even if they are very young, we are planting seeds of hate in their hearts. Just because someone is different from us doesn’t justify abuse or petty acts of hatred.  If we continue to spout hate and do mean things to people different from us, eventually, it seeps into our psyche and emboldens us to believe we are doing the right thing. Wrong action is never justifiable. We can pretend all we want, sooner or later, it will surface and cause us great pain. The baby above, lost her life in that terrible bombing. What was she guilty of? NOTHING. Hate spreads like debris tossed in a river, it travels and taints/pollutes everything in its path. The poison spreads and hurts more people than its original intent.  A careless word of hate, like a careless act of pollution, reverberates and causes more harm than good. It can lead to wars, acts of terrorism, genocide, and the dissolution of relationships. What can you do today to bury old wounds and petty hatreds?

Some of us have had experiences with cyber-bullies and/or mean girls online. I’ve never understood why they are called “mean girls” because the ones I’ve encountered are not girls but women. But I get it: When we act in a thoughtless and mean-spirited way, we are not acting like adults who ought to have self-control over our actions and emotions, we are acting like bratty kids. If you had a miserable childhood or unhappy circumstances in your life, don’t you think that healing yourself should mean not exhibiting the same behavior towards others? When people are rigid, racist, and hurtful towards others, their actions are a cry for inner healing. Think about it.  If you go around hurting others, what are you crying for? Where are you hurting? Please seek professional help and heal your inner wounded child… your life depends on it.

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” Elie Wiesel

What Are We Feeding Our Children? - We are a Global Community - Embrace others

What Are We Feeding Our Children? – We are a Global Community – Embrace others

What Are We Feeding Our Children? - We are a Global Community - Embrace others

What Are We Feeding Our Children? – We are a Global Community – Embrace others

This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Above is a memorial for one of the headmistresses of the International school I attended in England. She was a visionary who believed that all of us could learn something valuable from each other.  Children from around the world attended my school and we were educated in each others “cultures, creeds and religions, and out of that understanding came lifelong respect.”  One of the highlights of my school was our United Nations Day when we got to share more about our traditions, and celebrate our differences. Did we have arguments at school? Sure, but they were focused on  individual behavior not generalized to culture, religion, or the color of a person’s skin.

Today, I’m connected to many of my former classmates/friends on Facebook, and we are truly a global group of women. My parents sent me to that school because they had the same philosophy about life. My kids are global minded and I’m grateful that my upbringing and many of my experiences reinforced my belief that we are all inherently good.   But, it takes effort. There is evil in the world and we can rise above it or become part of it.  If we remain insular and refuse to teach our kids to respect people and cultures from other parts of the global community, we are performing a disservice. The internet has created a global village that gets smaller every day. We can sit at home and connect with  people around the world and get to appreciate what each of us adds to the whole. Yes, it takes work. How are you preparing your kids for the global community?


“Hate is the consequence of fear; we fear something before we hate it; a child who fears noises becomes a man who hates noise.” Cyril Connolly

Reflections: What Are We Feeding Our Children?

Reflections: What Are We Feeding Our Children? – They are the future

What Are We Feeding Our Children? - We are a Global Community - Embrace others

What Are We Feeding Our Children? – We are a Global Community – Embrace others

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s easy to go through life assuming all our beliefs are self-taught but, they aren’t. We are influenced by our family, our experiences and by many others. We are exposed to the thoughts and actions of people we look up to and admire, and their influence has an impact on our lives. Our thoughts have tremendous power, and we can use that power to help, hurt or heal ourselves and others. If we are exposed to environments that are empowering and that encourage positive ways of viewing the world, we will adopt those teachings and make them part of our life’s work. We often hear people who recanted their terrible ways say that they wish someone had guided them earlier in life and taught them that hate is not an answer. What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you a year (or five, or ten…) ago? When we raise kids and encourage them to develop reason and logic, we are preparing them for a healthy world. Feeding them a diet of dogma and discrimination is the road to discontent.

When we are at peace with ourselves and happy with whatever conditions we are tackling, we are less inclined to want to be hurtful to others. Try saying mean things when you are full of joy and laughter. It’s impossible to do. Before we log on to the internet, it would be good practice to think about who we will help today instead of who we will hurt. By the same token, let’s educate our kids to use common sense online/offline, and to find healthy outlets for their frustrations.

This post was inspired by two prompts from WP Daily Post:  Powerful Suggestion :What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you a year (or five, or ten…) ago? and  Review Your Life. : Write a review of your life — or the life of someone close to you — as if it were a movie or a book.

For More: Women’s Lives & Issues 

Positive Motivation Tip: If we feed our children love, they will remain it. If we feed them hate, they will remember it.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos: Children at Play by Pieter Bruegel,  Kids,  Alfred P. Murrah Bulding, CTS Ms. Garry,  Baby from Oklahoma bombing, via Wikipedia or from my Personal Collection.

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

79 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephanie Pass permalink
    20/04/2015 1:31 am

    I could not agree more with teaching children to think for themselves. We work really hard to guide our children to be freethinkers and be empathetic towards others.

  2. Masshole Mommy permalink
    20/04/2015 4:26 am

    I need to be better about watching what I feed my kids. You just never know sometimes.

  3. 20/04/2015 4:27 am

    A very moving and thought-provoking post. Yes, children are little sponges and they miss very little. Loving kindness, joy and inclusivity are definitely what’s needed.

  4. 20/04/2015 12:28 pm

    Reblogged this on My Blog.

  5. 20/04/2015 2:00 pm

    The world needs more Ms Garrys, and more Elizabeths too for that matter.

  6. Holly @ Woman Tribune permalink
    20/04/2015 3:16 pm

    I absolutely love that Martin Luther King, Jr. quote. This is such an important post. We might not think kids are paying attention when we let our anger get the best of us, but they are always listening and paying close attention to our feelings and learning how they should feel.

  7. 20/04/2015 3:43 pm

    That’s nice that you’ve connected with so many from your school. And def. there are a lot of negative things going on. We have to counteract that with so much good in the home. It’s hard when someone IN the family spews hate… really hard. I deal with that here with my kids and there are things you can do but they’re limited (drives me crazy).

    • 23/04/2015 12:03 pm

      Yes, Rosey! I hear you. It’s not easy when your heart is open and someone dear is close minded… It’s painful for all and creates gaps in communication and lots of painful memories… I hear you dear friend, I hear you!

  8. Rebecca Swenor permalink
    20/04/2015 4:25 pm

    This is an amazing post indeed. It is truly inspiring and I love the last quote in the post. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Simple Mama (@simplemama2013) permalink
    21/04/2015 7:47 am

    Both our boys are inter-racial meaning their father and myself are from completely different parts of the globe. It is my hope that they will both grow up to be decent and respectful toward all persons no matter what race, culture, or religion they come from.

    • 23/04/2015 11:52 am

      We share that too. My kids are part Jewish and Christian and we’ve had a blended household for ever… It’s all good! <3

  10. Michele permalink
    21/04/2015 2:15 pm

    You are so right in all that you said or quoted above. If people could just realize that under the skin we are all the same-literally! Children become what they are taught. I am glad that my parents taught tolerance and not hate!!

  11. upliftingfam permalink
    21/04/2015 6:53 pm

    I agree that there is a ton of evil stuff going on. I learned that I personally can’t control my kids once they are grown and gone but I can do my due diligence to make sure that I teach them to love and help others. 🙂

  12. Rebel Sweetheart permalink
    21/04/2015 8:01 pm

    My son is now training in martial arts, and non-violence is actually one of its key learnings. I’m glad he is learning so much from the sport. 🙂

  13. Carly Anderson (@lipglosscrayons) permalink
    21/04/2015 8:45 pm

    As a teacher, I totally agree with this! It’s crazy the things people say and do around children!

  14. bri permalink
    21/04/2015 9:05 pm

    Adults need to be more mindful of the things they do and say around children even if they do not have children of their own.

  15. Liz Mays permalink
    21/04/2015 9:07 pm

    I think it’s very important to be aware all the time of what we’re doing and saying in front of our kids. They are paying far more attention than we realize.

  16. Christina Boyer permalink
    21/04/2015 10:13 pm

    We as parents shape who are kids will be. They are watching us, listening to us. We are supposed to be guiding them in the right direction. That means not only telling them but showing them how to act. Showing kindness for others. Helping others. Refraining from hateful talk, gossiping, bullying etc. I feel like it’s much more important now days unlike when I was younger because of social media. It’s a different world today. I’m preparing my kids for the future by showing them how to treat others and constantly reminding them and encouraging them to do good.

    • 23/04/2015 11:44 am

      Well said. The internet has opened wider doors and so it’s imperative that we ground our kids in certain skills.

  17. Lois Jones permalink
    21/04/2015 10:18 pm

    Some very good points and thoughts. Thank you for sharing and urging others to think!

  18. danisdecadentdeals permalink
    21/04/2015 10:28 pm

    Great article! You bring up so many critical topics and it is really important sometimes to pause and think of how the children around us in this world are developing in today’s society!

  19. swell conditions permalink
    22/04/2015 4:54 am

    Great quotes and I agree, it all starts with teaching our kids respect.

  20. Debbie Denny permalink
    22/04/2015 4:56 am

    Beautiful post. Sometimes evil can overwhelm us. As parents, we are responsible to teach understanding.

  21. 22/04/2015 5:12 am

    My kids are and have been very perceptive since i can remember.. I remember the Oklahoma bombings.. i couldn’t understand what happened at the time.. it was the first time i have seen or heard of anything like that.

  22. 22/04/2015 5:34 am

    You are so right – If we feed our children love, they will remain it. If we feed them hate, they will remember it.

  23. harrietb (@harrietb) permalink
    22/04/2015 6:42 am

    There is so much to consider. Our kids are very important

  24. lydiaf1963 permalink
    22/04/2015 8:11 am

    When I was a kid my parents didn’t discuss anything political, financial or otherwise controversial around us. “Little pitchers have big ears” Thanks for reminding us of that.

  25. Crystal (The Imperfect Mom) permalink
    22/04/2015 9:02 am

    I really try to watch my words and my tone. My tone gets me into trouble.

  26. Rebecca Swenor permalink
    22/04/2015 9:09 am

    This is an awesome post indeed and so inspiring. I love the quote from Martin Luther King Jr. which is so true. Darkness can only be change shining the light on it Thanks for shairng.

  27. cramos13 permalink
    22/04/2015 9:20 am

    What a beautiful post. It’s important as parents we set a positive example to our children because they see and hear everything we do.

    It’s sad there are some parents out there who may not know it but are passing down their hate and negativity to their kids. I only pray when their kids grow up they realize it’s wrong and break the cycle.

    Thank you for sharing.

  28. Ayesha Serrato permalink
    22/04/2015 9:52 am

    Upbringing children is a very important task. Everything starts inside the house and what children sees at home they will bring it outside. It is also essential to plant God’s word in our kids’ heart and mind.

    I love your positive motivation tip! Very true and informative.

    Thanks for sharing!

  29. Mrs. Jilly Fisher permalink
    22/04/2015 12:00 pm

    The fire fighter pictures breaks my heart. I hope the little baby survived. Love is very important to show kids. I love mine with all my heart.

  30. Denise permalink
    22/04/2015 1:26 pm

    Very inspiring blog

  31. lisa permalink
    22/04/2015 4:27 pm

    This is such a good post. Our children are what we are.

  32. Channel Marie Imperial permalink
    22/04/2015 6:12 pm

    I agree that we need to find peace within ourselves so that we can spread it to other people.

  33. 22/04/2015 6:34 pm

    This was a great article. I wish all parents only taught love!

  34. 22/04/2015 8:36 pm

    Such a great post, I just love this! The quote about Violence from Martin Luther King, Jr is absolutely awesome & true. I agree, Love or Hate, the one we feed our children with is what we will get it back in return. Thanks for inspiring.

  35. toughcookiemommy permalink
    22/04/2015 10:03 pm

    I think that a lot of what children learn is from the adults around them. Unfortunately, not all adults impart positive learning unto their children.

    • 23/04/2015 11:33 am

      True Maria… You and I live in NY and we see snippets of it every day…. It is unfortunate.

    • 24/04/2015 7:12 am

      The implication that adults have positive input to give is a fallacy,one which i’m sure isn’t lost on most of us.

  36. Mystarlight permalink
    23/04/2015 6:51 am

    If there is only one thing my girls learn from me I want it to be love. To love regardless of race , religion or whatever. I have my faith and I do want them to have the same faith but I would never want them to treat someone badly because they do not have the same faith. I love all of your articles. This is definitely one of my favorites.

  37. 24/04/2015 7:13 am

    Reblogged this on Broton's Blog and commented:
    Pause for thought.

  38. sriches permalink
    29/04/2015 12:36 pm

    I have always taught my daughter to be independent and think for herself and that has made her into an awesome, astute little lady. Children learn from our thoughts and opinions, it’s important to let them think for themselves!

  39. Michelle permalink
    29/04/2015 1:19 pm

    every parent should take care of their children more carefully.Thanks for this wonderful post.Worth reading this.

  40. phyliciamarie permalink
    30/04/2015 2:04 am

    At first I thought your post was about food, like how kids eat more fast food, sweets and junk food. When I kept reading, it was about how we educate the next generation, with our beliefs, actions, words. Really, what we show them, whether online or in real life, will shape their future.

  41. nicol permalink
    30/04/2015 4:11 am

    Another great read! Kids are easily influenced by anything, we just need to teach the rights and wrongs

  42. garryaum permalink
    30/04/2015 7:41 am

    world needs more like her and everyone should follow her

  43. hannizenvato permalink
    30/04/2015 8:39 am

    You do not do evil to those who do evil to you. But you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness

  44. Tiffany Yong permalink
    30/04/2015 10:08 am

    This is something everyone can relate, especially for me when I teach kids and saw how they respond to certain comments or remarks. I see their parents in them. Sad, because they weren’t positive response.

  45. Anne V permalink
    30/04/2015 10:41 pm

    If we don’t teach our kids, the world will, which is scary. When me and my husband get into a bit of a misunderstanding, we don’t let our kids see it at all. We don’t watch tv at home at all, we only let them watch videos made available offline that we as parents have checked ourselves if they are ok. They are not allowed on Facebook or any form of social media until they are 16. And now we are embarking on homeschooling too. A Bible-based curriculum will definitely help us train our child in the way God has designed it. 🙂

  46. Raymond Vasquez permalink
    01/05/2015 1:53 am

    One of the reasons why we should keep being optimistic. Spread positivity. And not feed the next generation with fear, sadness and grief. I am a teacher, and I am exposed to different students with different background and family orientation. I’ve witness the sad reality of having a limited and negative mindset because of their family’s upbringing and environment. I am more encouraged to inspire and spread positivity to my students. I consider them my children. 😀

  47. Papaleng Pagulong permalink
    01/05/2015 3:56 am

    I guess all parents desire the best for their children. So they feed them with good things. However, the environment they’re into often times gets them to do bad stuff.

  48. Fred Hawson permalink
    01/05/2015 4:40 am

    Teaching the kids while they are tabula rasa is really the key for them to grow up with the proper values. Unfortunately, not all parents have the time to deal with this, so the TV and gadgets become bad role models.

  49. poojakawatra permalink
    01/05/2015 6:32 am

    When I saw the topic I thoughthe about food but read it I realised it was such a beautiful thought behind it.
    teaching the kids value , respect when they are young is the best we can do everyday.
    agree with your point that our thoughts are influenced according to our surrounding.mmore positive people we have more beautiful it will be.

  50. Franc Ramon permalink
    01/05/2015 9:01 am

    It’s really important to watch what we show kids. This will really influence how they perceive things as they grow up. It’s best to be a positive influence.

  51. Mia Foo permalink
    01/05/2015 10:12 am

    well i do agree some parents do not set a good example for their children, but we shouldn’t be quick to judge on poor parenting when we encounter a bad child. with all the advancement in technologies, with a child with the strictest parent can still get ‘tainted’ by bad influences with just a few click of the mouse.

    • 07/05/2015 7:29 am

      Parental influence is a key factor to our development. Tons of kids are exposed to the internet and a small percentage take a wrong turn. There might online influences but often that behavior is a cry for offline help.

  52. Hui Zi permalink
    02/05/2015 3:13 am

    It’s so important to be a positive influence to the kids.. Not only parents, but every single person since the globe is so connected through the internet these days and kids learn all their stuff from online.

  53. Fatemah Sajwani permalink
    02/05/2015 7:59 am

    I love the fact that you added the pointer of parents being careless about what they are saying in front of their children. Great post!

  54. Loudthinkin permalink
    02/05/2015 10:34 pm

    We are the reflection of what we see and observe.. its important to teach kids to love, be positive, humble, caring..parental teaching has a huge impact on what kind of individuals children grow up to be.

  55. 06/05/2015 12:43 pm

    I always say be careful what you say around kids. They are mini copies of yourself and you want them to be the best they can be so you have to set an example.

  56. 23/04/2015 12:04 pm

    Thank you! 🙂


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