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Do You pledge to be open minded about My views?

On this last morning of my forty-fifth year, I found myself thinking of basic Human rights. Then as a mother, I was thinking how have I translated those same "ideas" of rights to my own child. Over the years we have had so many discussions on her rights as a Human being I can't begin to share.

From how her peers should treat her, to how her teachers and people in power should treat her the conversations never end. There is no age limit or right place or right time. To be treated with respect is not an option, it is a right everyone deserves even in times when we don't agree.

I'm an emotional person by nature, I can't even look at commercials geared at raising animal cruelty awareness without looking away. I don't like to see any form of abuse, don't try to show me videos of kids fighting after school I won't watch. Voyeurism of another's pain is not my idea of entertainment. No matter how it is packaged. So much suffering at every turn lately. Fires, Droughts, Hurricanes, Earthquakes does it not make you stop and think about your life and your choices?

I woke up to a post on the latest rant from Mr. Trump. Fire any player who doesn't respect our country, we pay them A LOT of money. So basically if you get paid for something you lose any right you have to freedom of expression. This being, for example, the huge organization which is the NFL. This controversy touches many levels but when money is involved nothing else seems to matter so as a parent, where should you stand?

If we first understand that our Constitution was written when people of Color and women's rights didn't matter anything after that should be easy. If we accept that at the time this was thought out no one was considering a person of Color as an equal, we could then find in some way the possibility to respect and understand why the stance on taking a knee is really not a sign of Disrespect to our Country. Hello, when it was written it wasn't even all of our Country. Some people were left out.

It's a beautiful sentiment indeed: 

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

I love the idea of those words but it is not a reality and has not been a reality for certain groups of people for a very long time. To expect or even demand someone's moral compass be disregarded because of money or the discomfort of others is wrong. You can't teach your child to have a sense of value to understand right from wrong and then say "oh but if you join this group or if you have this job, or if you make this money, what you believe is no longer relevant."

Long before Colin Kaepernick took his stance I had a tiny six-year-old who questioned why she had to stand and place a hand over her heart. I had a ten-year-old who's teacher sent me a note about her not paying attention during the Pledge of Allegiance in class. My response was "as long as she is not physically hurting anyone, please don't reach out to me on this matter again."

That was my thought then, it is my thought now. Here's my perspective, I am not disrespecting those in my family or friends or neighbors who chose to serve this country. They served to protect my right and my daughter's right to speak freely. So speaking freely on observations, clear and proven facts and visible proof of acts practicing inequality fall under that protection. Just because you now don't like how I present that right doesn't negate its value.

I found this article that questions what is so different between Kaepernick and Tim Tebow that I found interesting. Both have a strong sense of faith and value both take a knee. So many people have such a strong opinion on this matter but I think no one has taken the time to dissect where it stems from. Plain and simple it stems from society wanting a man to uphold a practice that was not and is still really not inclusive of himself or his culture.

The pain of watching people who look just like you be beaten, jailed and even killed doesn't go away when you cash a paycheck or enter a certain building. The sadness of witnessing injustice on a continues level doesn't disappear when you put on a uniform. The person looking back at you in that mirror remains the same. The value of a Human being should never change.

My daughter doesn't stop being Dominican and a young woman of Color with curly hair just because she walks into ANY establishment. My years of teaching her to value herself and her rights don't stop if and when she goes to work for any major organization if she so chooses. Her right to express her views on injustice don't stop at any door. 

Standing up for what we believe in and doing so in ways that bring about conversations should be encouraged not discouraged. Our children should never have to feel like they must give up something in themselves in order to be accepted and not shack things up. Those little boys and little girls out there who enjoy Football should not have to choose to now not like someone because they disagree with one of their parent's beliefs. 

Being a great parent requires us to raise our children to be conscious of their fellow man. It demands that we provide our children with all the tools needed to go out in society and add to a positive evaluation. We diminish those chances when we teach one thing and practice another all for the sake of money. 

It's time to take a stand on truth. To listen to both sides of an argument without looking for a win. We win when we agree to respect and listen not always to change but perhaps to understand. Colin Kaepernick is an opportunity to understand that change is needed. It's an opportunity to talk with our children about freedom of expression and the consequences you can face when others oppose your views.

Share your thoughts, what do you think? Is this a CONVERSATION you feel is needed in order to teach our children that in a healthy society we need to learn how to respect different views and invite healthy conversation?

Always stress-free xo, 

Mari

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