There isn’t one all-encompassing answer when situations like the recent shooting at Virginia Tech happen. However, prophylactic protection for such random acts of violence begins at home, and it’s the duty of all parents to participate.
The causes of such situations are rooted in many different aspects of life. Mental health is one of them. Mental health is certainly real and an issue in both children and adults. But there are many other factors at work; proper parenting from day one is the most important.
If a child doesn’t feel loved by his parents, it has a dramatic affect on the child. He/she will never have the ability to love. Subsequently, such people will mimic those relationship aspects with their children.
Parenting is also involved in teaching respect for everyone and the opinions of others regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or body type. Children tease other children, but it can certainly be minimized by teaching what is and what is not proper respect for others.
Active participation in a child’s life by both mother and father is essential. Every child must learn specific roles or traits from a man and a woman. If the child doesn’t receive any one of these numerous characteristics, an instinct jones will cause them to seek until they find. A prime example is that one girl that you knew; you know the one about which I’m speaking. She’s the one who lacked a strong male influence in her life, and probably the one with whom you know a lot better than the other girls in your class.
Children’s thoughts and feelings need to be respected and validated. Telling a child that he/she is wrong without an explanation doesn’t work. Essentially, it’s nothing more than rejection. Positive reinforcement works indefinitely. Negative reinforcement creates a cycle passed on through generations of intolerance.
Proper parenting also involves teaching children how to deal with their problems, no matter the size or circumstance. If you come from a family that sweeps problems and issues under the carpet, your children will again mimic this attribute in their lives unless the cycle is broken. Hear no evil, see no evil, ignore, repeat is not a healthy way to live life and not a healthy thing to teach children.
Respect for diversity is a hot topic right now, and for good reason. It is the golden rule, it’s the second part of the Great Commandment (Mark 12: 29-34), and it’s the proper way to live your life and teach your children how to live their lives.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not throwing stones. I have no right because I’ve made mistakes. I can assure you that I will make more. However, recognition of those mistakes, learning from them and breaking the cycle of intolerance must be the cornerstone for building the next great generation.
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