There’s this family across the street.
Mom, dad, daughter, son, cute dog. Every evening, they take a walk around the neighborhood. And while they’re walking, they talk to each other.
This has been going on for years.
I notice this family because what they do is something we seldom see these days.
I imagine every evening they sit around the table and have dinner together while talking about how their days went.
When they’re done eating, they maybe clean up a bit. I can see them rotating duties. Tonight, mom clears the table. Son washes the dishes. Daughter dries them. Dad puts them away. Teamwork, you know.
Then they set off on their nightly stroll around the hood. Like clockwork.
When the little boy and girl grow up, I doubt they’ll ever feel compelled to roll with the wrong crowd, to look for love in the wrong places, to act like someone they’re not so they can get more likes and comments.
No, they probably won’t need any of that stuff. Because they feel loved and connected at home. They belong.
And on some of those nightly walks, I imagine their parents tell them how much they BELIEVE in them. How they can do anything they put their minds to. How much they’re loved.
Immediately following the horrific Uvalde school shooting, my first thought wasn’t about guns. (Though a discussion on guns needs to be had.) My first thoughts were about young people who feel lost, disconnected, hopeless, unloveable.
I thought about the kids who don’t believe in themselves because us grown-ups are too busy to ever tell them how amazing they are. Too busy to sit around a table and eat together. To carve 20 minutes out of our schedules so we can go on a family walk and actually talk to each other.
That’s where my head went. Not straight to politicians, but to parents and just how f**king hard it must be to be a teenager growing up in a social media world where so much time is spent comparing ourselves to others.
If we adults struggle with the comparison game, with not feeling good enough, with not feeling lovable, then imagine what a teenager without a fully developed brain and absent parents is going through.
I can write about this all day, but I won’t. I’ll conclude with this:
If there is one thing I can say for sure, it’s that those kids I see every night walking with their parents and their dog will never in their lives think about taking a gun to school and using it.
When humans feel invisible, we eventually find a way to be seen. Some will compromise who they really are for social media likes. Others will act out at home. And there are the tragic few who will find the attention they crave in more horrific ways.
Politics can help with this. Maybe a little. But politicians aren’t responsible for raising children. That happens at home.
I share more of my thoughts on today’s epic QOD episode with the one and only Ed Mylett.
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