Teaching Tolerance and Compassion
The “Year of the Trump” is overdue for its end. The Republican Presidential candidate has gone out of his way to add profane expletives to campaign rhetoric. As a Dad, even in a ‘locker room’ I have never ever used that type of talk! He’s proudly displayed his lack of respect for individuals, groups, and beliefs, unless they happen to agree with his idea of right and privilege. Notable party members who censored his statements and actions hastily got back on board when it appeared that they were harming their own political careers, not Donald Trump’s.
A major issue of concern for parents, teachers, and leaders is the lack of tolerance in the actions and written and verbal tirades of the would-be President of the United States. Decades of careful paving over the highway of compassion has been blasted apart in the last 15 months. It seems that nothing is too sacred for the man to attack and condemn.
Demeanor During the Primaries
Compare the positive types of behavior you learned while growing up to that of Trump. Somehow he missed lessons about humility, compassion, and kindness. Amazingly, he appears to have excelled in honor classes stressing selfishness, judgmental discourse, and a condescending attitude. The wonder is that any person who believes in fairness, good manners, and truthfulness can stand to see the trail of trash he’s deposited on the campaign trail.
Educated leaders rarely include profanity in their speeches and debates to emphasize their statements and positions. There are enough socially acceptable words to get the message across without being vulgar. The presidential debates once were an excellent way for children to learn more about the political process. Now Trump has made it an example of the ugliness of hatred and intolerance of ethnic, racial, and social differences. The hostility and lack of compassion created among school-age children by this example has been named the “Trump Effect”.
Attacks on U.S. Veterans, Senator John McCain, and Others
Senator John McCain has been taunted by Trump. The Donald stated McCain, who spent more than five years as a POW in Viet Nam, is no war hero because he was captured. Trump later emphasized he “liked people that weren’t captured.” The attack on the senator, in addition to other American POWs from different wars, is an extreme insult coming from a man who requested student deferments and eventually was marked as 4-F.
What does Trump know about military service and the oath to serve this great nation? His choices eliminated the opportunity to understand bravery and patriotism. Members of the Republican Party have criticized Trump’s attacks on McCain as well as his intolerant statements about Mexican immigrants. He’s threatened and bullied people who don’t support him.
Careless, Callous Attitude
Trump says it’s just words. Insults and threats are mean-spirited. Our nation requires a leader with exemplary skills in bringing people together and showing how to make the differences work. It’s a tough row to hoe, but differences can be resolved or tempered. Anger, hatred, and superiority is no way to demonstrate the democracy the US is built upon.
Lack of Respect Results in Bullying
Parents and teachers have worked hard to reduce bullying. The lack of tolerance in Trump’s insults are sending the wrong message to adults and children. Loser, moron, and dummy are a few of the man’s favorite insults. His lack of respect is infectious, because it is much easier to be mean and disrespectful than it is to be understanding and kind. If you agree this behavior is beyond the pale, tell the children with whom you have contact what is wrong with it and why they should not emulate his actions and manner of speaking.
How to Teach Values of Compassion and Tolerance Despite Trump’s Negative Campaign
Who ever imagined concepts like “good” and “kind” would be stomped on by the Republican Party’s selection for President of the US? Trump’s actions defy the values of compassion and tolerance that are mainstays of religion, public education, and family ideals. He is a prime example of why society has demanded a halt to bullying. Family, friends, teammates, and teachers can teach children to respect and be kind to people of all ages rather than taunting and hurting others because of dissimilarities.
Promote honesty. Invite the children to identify what makes a person honest and why it is an important value to follow. Remind children they should think before they act or speak. Will the things they want to say create good or fan the flames of discontent and discrimination? Conscious behavior requires effort, but it pays off by producing responsible, caring citizens who make a positive difference and continue to grow intellectually.
Lead by example. Avoid cheating and taking advantage of people who are less savvy than you in certain areas. Be kind to the elderly, who may not hear things clearly the first time or do the activities kids choose. Talk over random acts of kindness, such as mowing a neighbor’s garden for free and showing someone struggling with a math problem the way it’s done. Teaching, sharing and caring are positive attributes that influence desirable behavior despite the negative 2016 campaign.