This image.

Of all of the images I have seen so far today, this is the one that leaves me absolutely heartbroken and sobbing.  Look at that precious little girl in a beautiful dress with a delicate string of pearls and an expression that is wrought with unimaginable pain and anguish that no innocent child should ever have to experience.  You see, her daddy, Matthew Gerald, was one of the brave Baton Rouge Police Officers who was murdered on July 17 by a hateful and purely evil coward.  No child, spouse, mother, father, or loved one should know such pain.  But yet, this same scene will play out two more times in the course of the next 48 hours here in Baton Rouge, just as it has played out 5 times in the past 2 weeks in Texas for those fallen police officers in Dallas.

I have posted several times before about talking to your children about tragedy (you can click here to see my last post).  This discussion never gets easier, and when the tragedy is in your backyard, it becomes even more difficult.  But with the events that have transpired in this great nation in that past several weeks, there is another almost more important lesson we must make sure we are teaching our children on a daily basis - love.

Children are not born with hate.  They have a purity and an innocence about them that does not pick who they are going to play with based on if their skin is black or white, if they have curly hair or straight hair, or really any other physical attribute.  That is just not how young children think, and boy, we could really learn a lot from our children sometimes.  However, children are like sponges, and they absolutely will absorb everything from the environment that surrounds them.  So as parents and caregivers, we must make sure that our actions and words towards others demonstrate that humanity matters.  We must teach our children from an early age that empathy and love for those around us, no matter the color of their skin, what religion they may practice or who they might love, is really what is important in life.  Instilling those values in our children from a very early age is what this world really needs, and we as parents and caregivers have to take the lead and responsibility for making sure that happens.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families and loved ones who have been suffering from the repercussions of hate in the past few weeks.  As we as a nation begin the healing process, let’s make sure that we as parents are screaming lessons of love, empathy and value for all humanity loud enough to drown out those voices of hate.