This whole “Walk Up Not Out” thing has gotten a little out of hand, and for the record, my biggest complaint about it is the “Not” in the phrase. Like we can’t do both. Like protest is a bad thing. And of course, looking at how ridiculously people have reacted to athletes taking a knee during the national anthem, some people really do think protest is bad. Unless you’re protesting athletes taking a knee, then it’s okay.
But I digress. (Only a little bit, though.)
The arguments coming up against the “walk up” movement talk of blaming kids for other kids’ bad behavior. Or of making quiet kids now “other”. I don’t disagree with these points, but I do think they are a more defensive extreme. (Extreme view on social media? I know. SHOCKER.)
Do I want my kids and all other kids to look out for those who might feel ostracized or bullied? Well, obviously, yes. And sure, I want us all to encourage it.
But I want that for more than one day. I want it to be all the time. And I also want us to remember that kids are not always going to have these perfect moments of being kind or thoughtful or even compassionate. Their cognitive and social development and hormones – lord, the hormones – messes them up a lot. This is okay. It’s not all on them, right? It’s up to us as adults to do our part, too.
Basically, this is the whole BE KIND movement. It’s frustrating to see BE KIND as the palliative response to all tragedy. Look, I feel like I have to re-iterate that YES, I believe that, when in doubt, we should strive for kindness with one another on a day-to-day basis. Unless someone is shooting at you. Or spitting racist hatred towards you. Or sexually harassing you. Maybe we can forgo BE KIND then?
Obviously I’m having difficulties in this post proving that I support the idea of kindness. Read some of my other stuff if you need to. I have it in me. But right now, the whole BE KIND movement feels like when you are in physical pain and a doctor who is trying to stick a needle in you keeps telling you over and over again to JUST RELAX as though saying it for the tenth time when the first nine times didn’t work will suddenly do the trick. Do you suppose if we told the battling Syrian forces “BE KIND” a few times, they might stop bombing all the innocent civilians? Or what about the Myanmar government? Will they say “oh, okay, sorry, Rohingya people, come on back”?
Some – or many – of you are shaking your heads at me and saying “don’t be ridiculous” and determining that those examples are far too complicated and not at all the same.
People are shooting up our children. And our nightclubs. And churches. And movie theaters. Simply being kind isn’t working here, either.
I’m not clueless. I know people post their BE KIND campaigns because they feel like they want to do something and don’t want to be all “POLITICAL” (I won’t expound on how it is not “political” to fight for social justice or to protest injustices). For my own part, I’m sorry I can’t be more compassionate about that idea lately.
My kids are kind, and yet they still Walked Out.
Be kind, yes, whatever, but let’s be kind AND protest what we think is wrong.
Be kind AND fight for change.
Be kind AND walk the talk.
Be kind AND vote.
Be kind AND be angry about what is wrong around us.
Be kind AND.