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Tarnished Gold? Mom Talk

Tragedies fill headlines as Americans set new records.

Roe Conn hit the nail on the head when he said Monday the events of this week are the very best and worst that America has to offer.

He was referring specifically to the flawless Mars landing within the same 24 hours as the horrific Sikh temple shooting outside Milwaukee.

When we expand that lens a little wider, we also see the incredible accomplishments happening now in London. At age 16, Gabby Douglas became the first African-American gymnast to earn all-around gold. Michael Phelps is now the most decorated Olympian of all time. Kayla Harrison overcame horrific sexual abuses by her childhood coach to be the first American to earn gold in judo.

Then, as we hold our breath, we remember the June 20 tragedy in the Aurora, CO, movie theatre. Not long after, Missy Franklin, also from Aurora, earns four golds in swimming.

Also within the last six weeks, we have tried Jerry Sandusky and are . Tragedies abound.

It seems that in order to have the sweet taste of glory, we must also stomach the bitterness of tragedy.

"Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought," said the late Pope John Paul II.

As Americans, we have a society of instant gratification. We pay a high premium for this. We have the right to bear arms. We should not be able to build a personal arsenal and shoot up a movie theatre or booby trap an apartment as James Holmes' allegedly did.

We have the right to free speech. Yet we should not be able to proulgate white supremacist hatred that elevates to killing prayerful people, as suspected gunman Wade Michael Page may have done.

Our values begin in our homes. Of course, we cannot account for mental illnesses that contribute to tragedies. Yet, it is time for us, as parents, to limit our children's exposure—not expand it. Assailants don't suddenly turn bad. It's like wearing a hole in the rug by walking across it a little every day. It happens over time.

We become desensitized. Just because we have Call of Duty or Mortal Kombat in every store, doesn't mean it's good for our kids. Just because the drive-thru is handy doesn't mean we should feed our kids Big Macs every day.

It is the little day-to-day happenings that have a big impact on our children's values. For example, when we badmouth other people or make racist jokes, our children learn from us. It comes with every time we forward a hateful email guised as a joke. That is where it starts.

Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred.

Yes, as Americans, we have the right to do all of these things. If we want our children to be more like the Gabby Douglases, Melissa Franklins, Michael Phelpses and Kayla Harrisons, the next time hateful jokes hit our inboxes or pop up on Facebook, we need to remember one thing:

We also have the right to delete.

Jeanette Cox August 08, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Excellent article....it made me tear up....
J Hill August 08, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Thank you for this article...it is a great reminder that we need to teach our children good morals & values, certainly the world will not do this. It is the parents' job!
Loreta J. August 08, 2012 at 01:43 PM
My favorite phrase lately about many things in life: "just because you can, doesn't mean you should". Great article!
Loretta August 08, 2012 at 03:12 PM
This is very ironic because this is also my favorite line. My kids are always hearing me say, "just cuz you can, doesn't mean you should." Great Loretta's think alike.
Cindy Jacobson August 08, 2012 at 03:49 PM
What a fantastic article, Erin. Thank you for sharing.
Loreta J. August 08, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Yes, we do!! :)
Brenda Hoppestad August 09, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Well said! Awesome article!
Colleen sanchez August 09, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Great article as u see the comments come from women it's mostly the men who spread the email jokes around. I don't know to many women who spread racial jokes
Kari E August 10, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Well said. As an unpopular mom who recently wouldn't let my kids purchase violent games like Call to Duty for their X Box, thanks for supporting my decision. I think sometimes we all need to remind ourselves that as much as we love our children their happiness isn't our first priority. Morales and Values are important. Showing them how to wisely not follow the crowd is a priority.
Flora Dora August 11, 2012 at 09:09 AM
"you've got to be taught to hate and fear," the song goes. "It has to be drummed in your dear little ear....". We have to be careful of what we say in front of our children.

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