I woke this morning to read of the tragic death of a girl who survived the Boston Marathon bombing. In a decision I soon came to regret I read the comments section – this never ends well. It was a horrible mix of snarkiness, condemnation and belittling. The odd comment was one of condolence but I stress this was the exception. Many likened her death to the film Final Destination, devaluing her life to little more than a cheap film device. Without condemning or condoning the actions of anyone in the car when this accident occurred, I wonder why it is we feel such hatred that the deaths of strangers is merely fodder for our own petty hates or political opinions? Why does such hate exist in this world? And as a parent what can I do to try to change this?
Once upon many years ago I was told I am ‘too soft’ and was advised to be harder in my outlook. I held this criticism (and it was phrased as a criticism) in my heart for a long time until a wiser person than myself asked why is this a bad thing? What is so wrong with being soft? In a world which is too often hard and cold, don’t we need some softness to even things up? This person freed me up to see ‘being soft’ as something positive I could bring to the world, even something that should be valued and cherished. Thanks to her I now want to pass this trait on to my small daughter, I want her, more than anything, to just be kind.
I hope I teach my daughter the importance of being soft, of stopping to think before judging, of praising instead of criticising, of encouraging not ridiculing and mostly of reaching for hope rather than turning to despair. ‘Be kind we all have a hard path to follow.’