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Be the Peackeeper

By Meagan Russell
In Bayou Kidz
Sep 1st, 2021

article by Cindy G. Foust

Anybody ever play dominoes at their house? Like the Mexican Train kind, with colored dominoes that start with the double 12 and go down to the double zero? Gosh, my family does and let me tell you…it can get heated. I don’t mean like hot versus cold, but heated like cut-throat, won’t start each other a train and name calling domino antics? Asking for a friend. 

We really have “enjoyed” some of these games this summer, especially while my brother was in town from Maryland. We love hanging out around my parent’s pool, cooking on the grill, making homemade ice cream and playing dominoes. Oh, and this summer, watching the Olympics. We are a sports-minded family, and I think I have written about my years as a collegiate softball player. Just kidding. I did play in high school, though, and I played basketball, too. Those were kind of the glory years of my athletic career but I could shoot a 3-pointer, you know, before they even had 3-pointers.

My son followed in my footsteps (and his dads) and continues playing sports to this day. My daughter on the other hand, loves ballet. Like loves it, studies it loves it. What. In. The. World? Whose kid is she anyway? Thank the good Lord she is mine! Back to sports though… and the Olympics. Oh, and dominoes.

Imagine the scenario, my family is gathered around the domino table in my parent’s dining room, the Olympic games are on the television and there we all were, cheering for people we didn’t even know who are playing sports we don’t even understand. Come on, now, admit it with me… you have no idea how they get the scores for ANY of those sports any more than we do.

I mean, when those divers do a handstand and then a double back hand triple tuck upside down flip over their back and land in the water with barely a splash… I would give them a 10.

    Primarily because even if I did a Cannon Ball into the pool from that high up, I would likely drown from all the water that rushed up my nose. But then, the scores would pop up on the bottom of the screen and they would get a 6.4. Huh? 

  And the commentary would be like “yeah, that score should have been even lower because their head turned to the right when they hit the water.” Yeah. I saw that, too.

  At any rate, we had lots of fun watching the two weeks of games, cheering so loud for anything and anyone American. It was like, for a brief moment, we were cheering for our own, like our own children or our best friend’s kid. For a brief moment, it felt like the country stepped out the political, COVID-filled, messy, unpredictable world we are living in and cheered for the same team. Our team.

I totally get that people will always have differing opinions and that there will always be disagreements and discord. I mean, this great country was founded on the freedom of being able to stand up for what you believe in. I’m truly okay with that, but don’t you think we have gone way past that respectability?

Why can’t we find a way to carry this perfect harmony that we found during these two weeks, two weeks when not even spouses or family members could travel to cheer their Olympian on by the way, and bring some of that teamwork into our real lives?

I mean, was anyone in America cheering for a Russian? A Romanian? Of course not, for one split second, or two-week second, we were all on the same team, cheering for the same athletes and as hard as it is to believe, the entire country agreed on one thing: we wanted the gold.

As I sat around the domino table, I quietly observed our children, whose ages range from 23 to 3. First, don’t even say it, I know what you’re thinking, “Cindy was quiet?” Yes, I am capable when I have to be. 

Second, I watched with interest as our kids immersed themselves in this rich Olympic tradition that dates back to the 1800s, which involved cheering on their country’s Olympians. Not one time did anyone ask… ”I wonder what that gymnast thinks about masks in classrooms?”  Not one time did they ask, “I wonder if that 400-meter runner got vaccinated?” I don’t mean to hit a nerve, readers, or incite political debate…Cassie would fire me.

The nerve I want to hit is how we can use moments like this to remind our children that there is indeed opportunities to step outside of disagreement and dissension and find a common ground. We have that opportunity every day, in our homes, in our work, in our politics.

Our children, and I can say this because mine are old enough to be influenced by the news, need to see that opposition doesn’t always have to exist in every corner of their lives. It’s a parenting moment that lets us share the nature of teamwork, of unity and of coming together for a common purpose. We continue to live in unprecedented times and our overseas presence is being threatened at this very minute.

As a result, the United States seems to have left the coherence we felt just last week and taken to the mats again for arguing and finger pointing. Quite simply: it’s a hard time to parent through. Even for our grown children and grandchildren, we are battling discord like never before.

I’m just a simple columnist from small town America but I also have a vote. I have a voice and my voice is using my platform this month to encourage our children, no matter their ages, to seek peace. As Hallmark card as that may sound, be the peacekeeper.

I fail sometimes, like when my children have been hurt (probably the biggest cause of incite in a parent’s life) to seek the peace. It’s hard. And they react to how they see you react. But it’s important to keep them focused on things they can control, and at this time in our country’s history, it’s not world peace. 

It is however, peace in their lives, with their friends, with their family. And for us parents? It’s never been a more critical time for us to give them that peacemaking foundation, to remind them they have the tools to be the “one” who cheers for the “team,” rather than against it; even in situations where they have been hurt or wronged. Who knows? If we start a grass root effort to embrace rather than settle a score, perhaps the ones who are in charge of world peace could be influenced by those of us who just want to live in a quiet, respectable place full of peaceful times. Including when we are around the domino table.

Cindy G. Foust is a wife, mom, author and blogger. You can find her blog at the alphabetmom.com for weekly columns about home life,  parenting, small business stories and insight with a smidgen of literacy. Give her a like or follow on Facebook and Instagram.