teaching to love…and hate

“Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3

When it comes to the wee ones in my life, I’m a smother lover. There is no greater joy as a Mama, and now Grammy, then to wrap my arms around a child. Holding them close. Rocking them. Feeling the weight of them falling into blissful sleep. Feeling the lightness of calm after a storm of tears.

Showing love to a child is fun…

  • Bake their favourite cookies.
  • Play their favourite games.
  • Read their favourite book or watch their favourite movie over and over. And, over.
  • Knit or crochet a “damn it Grammy” hat in their favourite colour. (So called because of the many photos of wee ones crying while wearing said hats!)

“How much do I love you?”

“This much, Grammy”, as they spread their tiny arms as wide as possible, “and…MORE!”

Love comes freely and naturally with these wonderful souls. Love is easily taught and easily shared.

Sadly, so is hate.

As babes morph into toddlers and young children, we teach them to “be nice” and “play nice”. We ask them to put aside anger, to cooperate and share. We tell them about “good words” and “bad words”, letting them know that the latter are not acceptable in polite conversation.

But, how well do we live out what we preach? How well do we control our own hate and anger?

As our little ones get older we suddenly realize the need to censor our conversations, but it’s hard. Really hard. As adults, we need to share our anger and burdens with each other but often forget that little ears are listening. What are we teaching them? Do they see us genuinely struggling with a problem and trying to do what is right? Or, do they simply see us rehashing anger and hate?

What are older children learning as they observe the hate that fills the airwaves? How do we teach them to love when leaders spew hate-filled language and openly threaten opponents? How do we teach them respectful dialogue when bullies and haters fill social media sites?

I can’t change what is going on in the world, but I CAN try to change myself. I can BE the change I want to see. (Thank you, Gandhi!) I need to control and work towards letting go of the hurts and sadness that so easily overwhelm me. I need to erase the hate in my own life. If I cannot yet control the hate, then I need to control my words.

Loving our grand-children is easy. Teaching them to love by example is a great gift…even better than a “damn it Grammy” hat!




One thought on “teaching to love…and hate

  1. At some point example has to deal with the “why?”. For the example to have a legacy, grow and spread, the why becomes increasingly important. We should not be surprised at this because the human in us needs to understand as we grow, at least to continue to wonder and to do so in some kind of tranquility. That is, I believe, the nature of “quest”. Pope Francis urges us to be the parent, grandparent in the world, as you describe, at least in the tranquility of wonder-quest. We need Church as the child needs the parent, the grandparent, family. Francis needs a family. Our children need a better “why” than that which may have sustained us through the inevitable hurts.

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