The First Family

>    I was reading an article about the effects of violent video games on children.  It theorized that while the games in and of themselves will not cause a child to act like the boys at Columbine or the Virginia Tech shooter, the games plus the presence of other risk factors will have an impact that will likely move a person towards heightened violence.    
   Admittedly, we live in a violent world. But so did Cain and Abel. 
   The negative effects of wanting what you do not have or being unable to wait to get what you want have been around for as long as we humans have.  And while it has many faces, and we propose as many possible origins, I think it all comes down to two simple principles: accepting your life as it is and allowing others to be who they choose to be. 
   Whether it’s the burglar breaking into a home to steal valuables, or the ex-husband who decides if he can’t have his wife he’ll kill her, or the mother who can’t take all the responsibility of caring for the children she birthed so she abandons them, or the teenager who wants his name in the paper so he massacres several students, or the person who steals simply because they want something and can’t afford to buy it, or the Muslim extremists who decide that everyone should live by Sharia all comes down to acts born of the refusal to accept one’s life as it is and refusing to allow others to live their lives as they choose.
   We spend a lot of political capital on the federal, state and local level arguing and lobbying for better schools, “no child left behind” issues that relate to making sure all children have the fundamentals of education as we’ve defined them thus far.
   But what if our definition is in need of revision?  I’m not saying that reading and writing and ‘rithmatic…or quantum physics… aren’t valuable and necessary.  But maybe it’s time we re-evaluated what really matters in education. 
   Maybe it’s time we taught the children Acceptance and Allowing.    
   Acceptance 101 would teach the kids that your portion in life is your portion in life. Accept it with gratitude, whatever it looks like at the moment. If you want to change it, put your thoughts and energy into those things that will make a positive difference. 
   Allowing 101 would teach them to see everyone else as a mirror image of yourself and understand that others are also working on accepting their lives as they are so do not judge them for their progress or envy them their accomplishments and acquisitions.
   Our daughter is heading for high school in the Fall and we sat with her as she selected her courses. While I am pleased with her choices (she’s bright and creative as well so it’s a nice blend of academics and the arts) I would still loved to have been able to say, “Honey, why don’t you take “Acceptance 101” and “Allowing 101.”
   I’ll bet in hindsight, Adam and Eve would have loved to have been able to recommended those courses to their children, too. If they could have, just maybe I wouldn’t have had to write a column about violence.

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