Think of all the conversations you have as a family. All the things that come up time and time again in your house. What should we have for dinner? What do you want to do this weekend? Why are the Browns so terrible again this year? What are your grades going to be this quarter? Are you sure you don’t need to study? Who deleted my stuff off the DVR? How many times do I have to tell you to put your shoes away?
These are rhythms, the music of family life. The back and forth. The garbage time. The minutiae of cohabitation.
But if we’re honest, if we look in the mirror, most of us will notice something conspicuously absent from these conversations. Or rather, we’ll notice a theme: They are myopic. They are self-absorbed. Not maliciously so, of course. But still, we are focused on our stuff.
What does this miss? Well, it’s missing the suffering that is happening right out there, down the street, in another city, in your country. As parents, it is essential that we actively work to correct that. We have to care. We have to make sure our kids care. It is wrong to ignore what we know is wrong, it is wrong not to be talking about it, not to be spending real time and energy thinking about it and working to make a difference in this world.
We obsess over whether the counter is cleaned, whether the dishes are done. But why doesn’t it bother us as much that whole segments of the population are unfairly treated by the police? We work so hard to get them a few more points on their SATs, but spend so little time questioning this whole system, who is excluded by it, who is being left behind.
If you don’t want to be a dream hoarder, if you want to be a good person, then you have to actively and regularly work to make injustice a topic of conversation in your house. What are we doing about it? How are we contributing to the problem? Where can we make a difference? We are all tied up in this thing together.
We must do right by each other. It starts at home.