There is so much confusion that we are witnessing, a disorderly jumble of activities and images that are often disheartening and disorienting. We have normalized behaviors that at one time were not acceptable. Instead of accusing individuals, we must dissect the acceptance of these attitudes and behaviors that contribute to a society that is unraveling right before our eyes.
It has become common to watch toddlers cursing on videos as parents chuckle and act surprised by their language. I have read comments in which parents say that they are fine with their school-aged children cursing and that if they do it at home, it is not a problem.
We are not around our children all day and what we allow to slip will soon take root and sprout into actions that often cause grief and pain later. The Bible reminds us that “I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.” (1 Corinthians 10:23)
We can raise our children any way we want to but some consequences impact not just our households but the lives of others. Hopefully, we are rearing children that are making the world better because of their presence. Yet, it starts when they are young. We are raising children that will one day become adults. In a desire to be the cool and accepted parent, many adults are failing our children. We are failing them because boundaries have not been established early on.
Recently, a video went viral of a young woman alleging she was attacked by a man with a brick. Some say she deserved it because she taunted the man and was a troublemaker. Others viewed previous reels of her slapping various men in public and felt that she had a history of violence. She accused Black men of standing by not protecting her from the assault. Men on social media felt like it was not their place to get involved in a situation that could have endangered their lives. There were a lot of differing opinions and divisions. Yet, in many of these conversations, there was a lot of blame but accountability was missing.
Sadly, it is not a rarity to hear of stories of Black women who were harmed because they refused to give a man their phone number. Others allege this is a hoax due to a similar incident in the past in which a GoFundMe was also created by this young woman. In either scenario, there is a severe problem.
As a village, some of our members are acting out as adults. We have some young men who have fragile egos that cannot accept the word no or can bow out gracefully. If they feel challenged, they address it with violence. Some of our young women also must take responsibility for behaviors that are dishonest, and disrespectful to others and to themselves as well.
These young people are not solely to blame because they have learned these behaviors. There are parents and other adults who have taught them not just in their words but actions. Many do not take personal responsibility. We have lost love for ourselves and one another. It starts with us.
Our interactions are missing love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Could it be that what we are witnessing is a sign of the times that we are failing to pay attention to? “And because there will be more and more lawlessness, most people’s love will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12) We have a real opportunity to do something different. Love is about boundaries, respect, and speaking up in love. We must do more than stand on the sidelines as voyeurs. It is about modeling and living a life that embodies love in our homes and our communities.
Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the President of Soulstice Consultancy and the Founder of the Reconciliation and Restoration Foundation. She is also the author of four books and the host of the Tapestry podcast.