Written by Stephanie Siam
Our children are suffering. They may not say anything, or they may say a lot. But they hear the news. They see the headlines. They catch the sideways glares in public. But they don’t understand. They don’t comprehend why:
“Why did the store clerk watch me while I walked around the gas station?”
“Why does the airport security always stop Mom when we go on a trip?”
“Why doesn’t Donald Trump want me in my own country?”
The knee-jerk reaction is to explain it all away by saying, “They’re wrong. They’re misinformed.” But that’s not good enough. It doesn’t get to the core of the issue.
And the core of the issue is hate. Hate bred by fear. Hate bred by violence. Hate bred by the need to be included in “us” vs. “them”.
Everywhere we turn these days, we’re bombarded with tirades of hate. Each news article is heavy-laden with comments that induce indigestion, made by people who have one thing on their mind: “us vs. them”.
It has become an almost daily exercise in patience and creativity for many Muslims. Should I wear this outside? Should I go to this place alone? Should I stop for gas in this neighborhood? Can I get a job? Will I find housing?
But even if we can’t change the reality of the way things are, we can strive to teach our children how to better deal with the world around them. And to do this, we have to start a “conversation”: the word that sends shivers down the spines of parents with kids of all ages. But it doesn’t have to be fear-inducing.