We could all take a cue from these kids.
You may have also read that some pretty harsh things are being said to journalists by Twitter trolls — particularly to female journalists.
— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) July 31, 2013
Just doing a quick scroll through my Twitter feed, I’ve seen countless death threats, brutally misogynistic insults, wishes for rape, and (what I personally find most disturbing) threats directed toward the journalists' family members, specifically their children.
I’m not really sure when it became acceptable to write such ferocious words to people and get away with it, but here we are.
With the Trump administration in full swing, it’s hard to even keep up with the flow of news — and journalists of all genders work their butts off to make sure they are reporting the news accurately so that we, the people, can stay well informed. They really don't need to take a break in those grueling days to read the ugly things some Internet troll has to say.
We need to do better.
Thankfully, one woman is teaching young minds how to do exactly that.
Julianna Evans sat down with four 4th grade girls to discuss exactly what’s happening in the world.
Evans said: “I feel like what we're up against is how to parent in the Trump years. It goes way beyond political leanings. We run around after our kids on playgrounds and stop them from hitting or yelling to settle disputes. We teach them to pause, take breaths, and be kind as a matter of reflex. We tell them that being ugly and bullying is totally unacceptable. We teach them that it's OK to be different and a child in a wheelchair, or with a funny looking nose, or a different shade of skin is just as much a kid as you are and worthy of our love and respect.”
The four young girls were so inspired, they created 25 Valentine’s Day cards and sent them to journalists from across the media spectrum — covering the internet, TV, and print.
Here's what they said:
"Happy Valentine’s Day! We are four 4th graders from Key Elementary School in Washington DC. And we want to say that we are sorry that people can be mean to you sometimes for just doing your job and we are sorry that your feelings are hurt from time to time. We’ve all been bullied too and we know how you feel. This Valentine we made is to thank you for being strong and telling the truth. You have power in your voice, you have strength and we are proud of you. If someone sends you a mean email or letter you can ignore them, and remember that love “Trumps” hate! We hope you continue to succeed and continue to be reporters. Nobody should stop you. We are passionate about you! We think you are amazing, awesome, really courageous, brave, strong, mighty, powerful, lovely, cool, awesome, wonderful, special, magnificent and terrific! Keep doing what you do.
When we are old enough to be President we will support you even when you say things we disagree with because it’s the truth and the truth is powerful and important. One day we may be reporters like you too because that’s a cool thing to do.
Your biggest fans and 4th grade friends,
Ava, age 10
Norah, age 10
Josephine, age 10
Caoimhe, age 9"
Evans added, “All I did was sit down with the four girls and tell them people are saying mean things to journalists for writing truthful stories that were sometimes not what Trump wanted out there. And we talked about the implications of controlling what people are allowed to say and to lying to people and saying that people voted illegally which is why I lost the vote, rather than to say, 'Some people like me and some don't but I will do my best for everyone and ask the people who didn't vote for me to give me a chance.'"
Thank you, Julianna Evans.
These girls are now more aware of the issues facing the world in which we all live and are already work harder than many adults these days to make our world a better place.
And these journalists know the difficult and work they strive to perform with integrity and grace each day is respected, appreciated, and positively impacting lives.
Let’s follow the lead of Julianna, Ava, Norah, Josephine and Caoimhe, and rather than compartmentalize love into just one day in February, let's make it our mission to show love and grace to others each and every day.