Raising good men in a troubled world
I’m mad. Furious. Enraged. Angry. Pissed off.
This is not a state I find myself in often. Typically I’m the glass-is-half-full, look-at-the-bright-side, find-the-humor-in-any-situation kind of person. But today’s different.
I’m mad that there are people in this world who feel it necessary take their misery out on other people, innocent people. I’m mad that a deranged few can cause a perceivable shift in the emotional state of an entire nation, that they’re influencing the way we live our lives.
I’m mad that my boys have to be locked in their school and go through “unwanted intruder safety drills,” that I can no longer enter my sons’ classrooms without first calling ahead to be let in, disrupting the teacher and the entire class. I know these security measures are the right thing to do, but I don’t like that they have to implemented. With each successive tragedy in our schools, the innocence of youth is eroding away. With every security measure and lecture we have to impose on our children, the younger we are forcing them into adult situations.
I’m mad that I have to take off my shoes and belt to get through airport security, that my sons and I have to stand spread-eagle while security guards sweep metal-detector wands over our bodies. Minor inconveniences, but having to explain why these precautions are necessary to my innocent, trusting 5-year-old infuriates me.
I’m mad that I have been instructed to be on alert for people who don’t look like they belong, to be suspicious of anyone who is different or unknown. This is exactly opposite of the way that my parents raised me. They taught me to look for the good in people, to be accepting, to trust. They taught me not to judge a person by the color of their skin or the clothes they’re wearing, but to see a person, another human being.
My anger is certainly not directed at those who are making or enforcing the changes in our society. I understand and respect that it’s done for our safety and hopefully, to avoid future tragic events. My anger is for the people who took away my sense of security, for those who planted the seeds of fear and suspicion.
The majority of us live by the Golden Rule. Most of us are law-abiding citizens. That we must make changes in our day-to-day lives because a handful of people chose to commit very public, heinous, violent, despicable acts against fellow human beings, well, it makes me mad. But most of all, it makes me incredibly sad.
Although society is forced to train our children to be diligent, defensive, suspicious alarmists, I’m choosing to raise my boys with the same values and attitudes that my parents instilled in me: be kind; respect human life; judge people by the merits of their character not their race, religion or background; be open and trusting; be a good friend. In short, I want them to grow up to be good men.
Linda Boyne is an Edwards resident and a regular columnist for The Vail Trail. E-mail comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.