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Musings…Thoughts On Cultivating My Green Thumb While Raising My Boys

September 2, 2013

©2013 by Karsonya Wise Whitehead

September 2: I woke up this morning thinking about war and how senseless it is to “fight” for peace and use violence as a way to get to a state of nonviolence. I thought about the only two wars that I believed were completely justified: the Revolutionary War, where we as a nation fought for our independence from British rule; and the Civil War, where the Union fought for the end of American enslavement. Both of these were life and death situations that happened in our country (on our soil) and where violence was the only way that the other side would retreat and that true change would come. I am concerned that our dear sweet President is dragging us into another volatile situation that might take us years to get out of (remember the ten-year hunt for Osama bin Laden). I am alarmed by how casually he talks of going to war as if hundreds (or maybe thousands) of innocent men, women, and children will not be impacted when bombs from planes that are driven by men and women who are miles away from the center of death and destruction.

     I feel as if the world is falling down around me and that I am not doing enough to keep it upright. I woke up this morning and I looked at my hands because in my dreams I had blood on them that I could not wash off, no matter how hard I tried. I realized after I settled back down on my bed that when my President chooses to go to war and my elected officials support him, and my fellow citizens execute his orders, then my hands like theirs are bloody. I am just as responsible. When I do not speak up and speak out then I am teaching my children to act as sheep, blindly following wherever their leaders will take them. I think of leaders like Hitler, Jim Jones, Robert Mugabe, Kim Jong-II, and Idi Amin Dada, men who abused their power and are directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. I must be the change, I must be the change, I must be the change that I want to see in the world and I must model the type of change that I want my sons to embrace and one day become.

September 1: Dear Mr. President: now that you have drawn a line in the sand and have decided that America is once again called upon to be the peacekeepers for the entire world, I offer you the cities of Baltimore, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York (to name just a few) as places that would benefit from your love and attention. If peace is really the goal then we should start by promoting peace at home—in the cities across America where people are dying and starving; where they are unemployed and underemployed; where our kids are dropping out of schools or spending countless hours playing senseless violent video games and listening to violent misogynistic rap lyrics; where folks live in sub standard housing within food deserts; where murder, violence, rape, drugs, crime, and gang activity are accepted as normal behavior; where the classroom to prison pipeline has yet to be disrupted; and, where conscious people are working hard to try and raise healthy, happy, and whole children. We cannot promote peace abroad if we don’t live it at home. I urge you to reconsider your position and remember as one wise sage once said, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make that change!”  

August 31: To be clear: I am not naive. I know that violence is a part of the world that we live in but I will never ever believe that war is an answer for anything, particularly in this case. Although the Bible refers to us as sheep, we do not have to blindly follow our government. We can question their policies. We can hold them accountable. We can be conscientious objectors…perhaps if more individuals around the world stand up and speak out, we can force our leaders to think through their decisions. I sometimes wonder if making a decision to go to war would be more difficult for our leaders if it meant that they would have to be on the front line.

So in the midst of all of the ongoing conversations about war and violence and destruction, what can I leave my sons…well, I leave them this poem:


If I allow my sons to spend most of their hours playing violent video games, how can I expect for them to spend the rest of their time working for peace and justice

If I allow them to engage in unhealthy activities that contradict and interrupt the healthy activities they should be involved in, how can I expect them to be able to create a better world

If I never tell them no or teach them about peace and love, how can I expect them to be patient and to work to make the world better for others

If I teach them that their talents were given to them to make their lives better, how can I expect them to understand that “given” means “entrusted” and their job is to use their talents to make the world better

If I condone violence in any form and allow them to take pleasure in video games where satisfaction and points are tied to the number of people you kill, how can I ever expect them to see all people as extended members of our family and not as targets

If I sit back and allow them to wordlessly digest images of sex and violence and torture and inhumanity as easily as they digest their peas and corn then I must be held responsible for the actions that happened as a result of the seeds I have planted.

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