It Is Time To Teach LOVE
I've been thinking about all the issues, riots, violence and grief that has been thrust into the media limelight over the last week (and the last year or so as well). It seems to be getting worse. Each terrible event seems to feed from equally or worse events. We are literally ripping our American dream apart.
Maybe it's time to remove every single Confederate statue and memorial from the many states in which they reside (not just only in the South mind you). Maybe, after 152 years, many people can't stand the sight of these objects any longer. After all, the Civil War was mostly about the abolition of slavery--the South wanted to keep it, the North didn't and had rejected it for some time. Why should we want to remind anyone of that terrible time when 620,000 Americans died on the bloodiest battlefield America has ever witnessed?
Ok, lets say we do remove every one of those monuments. Then what? Do we delete the chapters in our online history books too? Do we burn any book that chronicles those terrible years our young country went through? Do we try our best to forget the past?
I don't think that will work, nor will it really change anything. But go ahead and take the statues down, legally and with decorum.
Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely against all racism of any kind. I'm appalled at the behavior of the people who rioted in Charlottesville. I abhor the un-American groups who call themselves patriots but are anything but patriots.
Just removing statues won't fix people's hearts and removing unpopular history from our children's education won't prevent this behavior from happening in the future.
What could work in my opinion is how we, as Americans, conduct ourselves. As parents, what are we teaching our children? I agree with Former President Obama's tweet that he shared on the evening of August 12, quoting Nelson Mandela's 1994 autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom," "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13, NIV.