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Share Love, Foster Peace and Spread Kindness

By Meagan Russell
In Bayou Kidz
Jan 28th, 2021

Be That Person. Raise That Person

article by Cindy G. Foust

Happy February readers in what is considered the month of love and romance. That’s interesting really, because for this writer, I kind of think of every month as the month of love. Particularly these last several months when I have personally been showered with all the love and all the support a person could dream of or hope to need. Right? 

But when we look all around us, like outside our individual bubbles or the insulation we carefully and craftily insulate our families with, and take a glance at the national and even global landscape of things, what we see is a far cry from love. Wait. Is the beginning of this column sounding like a Hallmark movie or can I proceed? Wait. What am I saying? As long as I don’t talk politics, and for 8 years as a feature writer, I never have, I can kind of talk about what I want to and this month, I choose to reinforce what we should all be talking about and that is loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. And more importantly, instilling this sentiment, this attribute in our children. Because here’s the deal readers, and what I wish this country, this community, this social media world many of us have attached ourselves to could find their way back to, is being able to “agree to disagree, but leave your fellow man anyway.”

Anybody feeling me? Anybody else just simply tired of all the arguing and screaming and carrying on (thanks Bitsy) that’s being shouted around the world? It’s true, you can’t disagree or simply have a different opinion from someone else without some visceral reaction from someone who disagrees with you, which many times leads to hate filled attacks. Friends, that isn’t political…it’s personal.
Over the course of the last several months, when it seems like all of our families are being touched by this dreadful, life threatening virus or some other catastrophic happening,  I don’t know about you, but my social media pages are full of pleas for prayers for healing, not hate. Hundreds of responses are usually attached to any post where someone is begging for prayers for restoration and healing. In a few simple words… THIS is life. THIS is what we are called to do, to support our family, our friends, complete strangers, who need our help and our thoughts and prayers. THIS is the time for difficult discussions with our children; for opportunities for our kids to look into the eyes of humanity with prayers, with thoughtfulness, with love. 

You know BayouLife community, when something starts weighing heavy on my heart, it typically makes its way to the pages of this column. And this month, it’s crawling its tired ole’ tail to this month’s Bayou KidZ. 

I have written for years, in a sporadic kind of way, about these very things… loving our neighbors (even the ones who think differently or have opposing views than we do), showing kindness, setting aside differences and… gasp… even forgiving someone. Last Sunday night I was kind of at the end of my rope with all the turmoil and arguing and conflicts with my social media accounts, so I decided to just divorce myself for a bit and walk out to my patio.
         It was the same night the snow had begun to fall, you know, like we were in Aspen or somewhere enchanting, and as I stepped outside, something shifted for me. In fact, it was almost palpable, as I sat down in a patio chair, with a blanket and took in the sights, the sounds, even the smells of this one isolated moment in time. The sights of course, was the way the beautiful snow had begun to accumulate in my backyard. The sounds were children laughing, my precious neighbor’s kids were already out playing in their backyard… innocence… purity. The smells were from my neighbor’s fireplaces as well as the clean, brisk air from the snow falling. For just a few minutes (as long as I could stand the cold) I just sat there in a far removed place, from all the personal turmoil I had been going through and all the pain and suffering and conflict going on around me, and watched these beautiful children enjoying the innocence and joy of their childhood. It was, in a word… peaceful. 

That’s not a state we recognize these days is it? But boy, did I long to take those peaceful feelings with me and try to figure out a way to keep that 15 minutes of this Norman Rockwell painting as close to me as I could. But it didn’t end there, because the next morning we all woke up to a winter wonderland, right?

As the kids ran out the door to the cool blankets of snow that covered all of our homes, our property, that peaceful dreamy state continued through the day. For one brief moment, we watched our children build snowmen and make ice cream and Coke floats and have snowball fights and sled down the hills. Laughter could be heard down my street from parents and children alike.  I have to believe that these same scenes were playing out at many of your homes, as you made hot chocolate or dried gloves for the 10th time.

Suddenly, and magically, all the conflict and the arguing and dissension disappeared from my social media timelines and instead, were replaced with pictures of families, singing, dancing, and playing in the snow. In that moment, we got to see houses covered with snow, trees dripping with icicles or beautifully landscaped yards that looked like a painting. 

You know readers, it was almost like some sort of fresh start, some welcome distraction from it all. And it came from a profound, out of nowhere place… but welcome nonetheless. 

What struck me as I sat inside and watched my daughter sled down our hill in a Rubbermaid tub, well, sledding might be a stretch… after she was pushed, the tub fell over and she rolled down the hill. But while I sat and watched I got to thinking about the responsibility we have as parents, a responsibility to prepare our kids to face the world and its problems, and boy is it fragmented right now. But why?

I don’t consider myself to be someone who is argumentative or combative, especially to people who are family and friends, and I can’t imagine getting cross with someone just because we don’t share the same political or any platform. Readers, that’s what has made this country great, is the ability and the freedoms we have to disagree. 

The courtrooms are full of people who argue different sides but walk out as friends…I’ve worked for attorneys who have since passed away but were revered, respected by their opponents or adversaries. Where are we? Why are we so lost? How do we find our way back? I read somewhere recently that “God has trusted us with our journey,” you know the one He has gifted us with called life. 

That’s a big thought, a big weight to carry… a trust we can’t take lightly. Take that statement readers, and use it in your homes with your children; share it with friends and co-workers; make a notecard and put it on your vanity mirror, and use your journey to share love, to foster peace and to spread kindness.

This world is full of ugly rhetoric and vile actions of people who are lost, but it’s also full of wonderful caring neighbors, family and friends, who will love you back to good health; who will pray for your restoration, no matter what is ailing you; and who will encourage peace. 

Be that person; raise your children to be that person; and surround yourself with that person (or people). If I sound like I should be standing in the pulpit this month, I apologize. But not really because anyone can use their platforms to spur change. We need change, sooner than later, and I personally believe it’s possible if people can simply allow their differences to spark conversation or discussion rather than hate and anger, change has no choice bu to come.  

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.