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This is not a politically charged rant or a rose-colored glass ideology that I am sharing with you, but a thought on kindness, acceptance, and welcoming others thoughts and beliefs.

Our children come into this word knowing only love.

Imagine for once, you are a political leader trying to get elected and your focus is to point out your candidates personal imperfections, their “absurd” thoughts and how “wrong” their beliefs are because they aren’t like yours. Think of the message you are sending our children. You have just told them implicitly that “It’s o.k! Go ahead and trash others, that’s how we get ahead, that’s how we win votes, that’s how we get “likes.”

On the flip side of the coin, think of the message we send our children when we focus on the greater good of humanity; when we focus on solving problem holistically instead of finding blame; when we teach our children to think for themselves; to not take someone’s word as gospel simply because of their beliefs, title or popularity. We empower our children.

With the upcoming election, both of my children have asked who I will be voting for. My answer back to them, is “Let’s talk about the candidates, I will tell you what I appreciate and don’t appreciate about them but want to know what you think as well.” I don’t want my children to simply assume my thoughts and beliefs, but to be presented with (as neutral as possible) many different thoughts and opinions and allow them to choose for themselves. Is this easy for small children to do, to not simply conform to that of their parents? No, but it is the foundation of teaching them to be free thinkers, to look at the world at large, to question, to listen and to seek to understand.

As parents, it is about stepping back and asking ourselves:

“Am I giving my children the opportunity to form their own beliefs or am I forcing mine on them?”
“Am I teaching my children to be free thinkers and to choose for themselves?”
“Am I choosing to bring my children into conversations where we talk about religion, politics, refugees, tolerance and ask them to share their thoughts and feelings?”
“Am I willing to peacefully agree to disagree but at least acknowledge that others think differently than I do?”

Two years ago, I attended an Emergenetics Brain Summit and listened as Allison Fass, Deputy Director of INC. magazine share the top business trends in leadership. She shared that we are seeing the pendulum swing in the business world towards the feminine characteristics of empathy, vulnerability, humility, inclusiveness, generosity and patience and these characteristics improve business metrics! If they improve business metrics, can you imagine what the inclusion of these characteristics can do to improve family dynamics, politics and the world at large?

It is my hope this season and every season for that matter, that we take a step back and before opening our mouths, consider… are we vocalizing our thoughts and opinions in an effort to be right and prove that our way of thinking is right, or are we vocalizing our thoughts and opinions in a way that encourages reflection, friendly conversation and potentially even seeing the good in someone else’s way of thinking.

In the words of Whitney Houston’s song “The Greatest Love of All”

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride and make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody’s searching for a hero
People need someone to look us to

It starts with us. It starts with our thinking. It starts with our behaving. It starts with how we express our thoughts and feelings. It starts with our intent. It starts with our passion; our passion to make this world a better place.