Part II. …The escalation of abuse, and what we can do about it.
I worry about how our children are being affected by what they observe and experience. They learn how to behave by witnessing how the adults in their lives (and the ones in the media) conduct themselves. When you judge, criticize, berate others, objectify women, demean those who are different from you.. children are watching. They often model what they see whether it be victim or bully. If you are demonstrating that it is okay to do anything to get ahead, or to stay in power.. children are watching.
They are being brought up in this culture of violence. And it should concern us all. One thing, as adults, that we can do is check ourselves. Are we contributing to this? A few questions you might want to ask yourself:
Have I treated others with respect?
Do I owe an apology to someone?
Was I a silent witness to violence toward another?
Was I able to express myself and my concerns assertively without aggression?
Did I engage in gossip, harmful to another person?
Was I kind to others and myself?
Was I fully present in my life and relationships today, neither dwelling on the past nor anxiously obsessing about the future?
Was I appreciative of the gifts that have been given to me and express gratitude for the people in my life?
Did I take care of my body? sleep 7 – 8 hours? eat mindfully? take medication as prescribed? move?
Did I laugh today? experience joy?
Nobody’s perfect. We all behave in ways that we wish we didn’t sometimes. The one thing we can do is take responsibility when we do. Apologize, if one is required. Try to learn something from the mistake. Then forgive but try not to forget, because whatever it was that you wish you didn’t say or do, may come around another time or do and give you that chance to do something different.
You don’t have to ask yourself all these questions all the time, maybe you decide to just take a moment each evening to create a gratitude list. Maybe you incorporate answering a couple of the above questions each day. Maybe you prefer to pray or meditate. Have some sort of way to close out your day with grace. Taking responsibility for our own behavior builds character. And our children will be watching this too.
Gandhi said, “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a person changes their own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards them. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”