Fatherhood: Week 18-Get Up, Stand Up

Over ten years ago, I marched down the rainy streets of downtown Milwaukee to make my voice heard. I did not want the United States engaging in a war with Iraq. 

A lot of good that did.

When I was in college, I wrote about issues that were important to me: racial profiling, social injustice, etc. Nowadays, you would be lucky to see me post anything political on my Facebook or Twitter feeds. I am distraught and concerned about the events going on in our country, but I do not see the point of voicing my opinion about them. 

My workplace discourages discussions of a political nature. Then there is social media. I spoke up about something I strongly disagreed with on Twitter a few weeks ago. Trolls replied with the vilest and most racist responses I have ever seen. I honestly did not believe I lived in a time where people continued to be latched on to a belief system that encourages hate of a minority. 

I have kept my opinions strictly in the arena of pop culture since. Perhaps I was naive to think a constructive dialogue could take place online. Maybe I am too weak and sensitive to stand up for what I believe is important. I thought people might want to listen. Instead, they are just eager to respond to whoever disagrees with them.

The dialogue will continue to decay as my son matures in this brave new world. He has to stick up for his beliefs. My concern is that I won't bestow upon him the confidence to see the fight through. He cannot remain silent on important issues. He needs to listen to what others have to say. Otherwise, he will be no better than the trolls who spew out hateful speech.

Parents, how have you instilled values you find important in your children? Do you want them to speak out? How would you like them to make their world a better place?