Recently I read an article about a toddler being sworn at, as well being encouraged to use profanity, in a video that has garnered thousands of visitors. The child is from Omaha and along with three of his siblings has been taken into protective custody.
They were not taken into custody because of the language. The video drew curiosity from authorities who once inside the home, found other reasons to remove the children from the residence. The children were exposed to many things including a gang lifestyle, and signs of abuse to the children was evident.
This took place in Omaha and reminded me of one of the most powerful experiences of my life, that occurred in Omaha not far from where this took place.
I used to live in Omaha when I was 19 and 20 years old. During that time I spent quite a bit of time near the project housing developments and was a volunteer at a YMCA in the area. Our assignment was to help with the after hours school program with Kindergartners.
I remember one day a group of children came in and we were getting ready to play some games and one child let out a tirade of racial slurs at me along with other profanities. I learned new words that day. It was the first time I had ever been called a F*** white honkey. And it was by a 5 year old.
I was shocked. I could not imagine how in the world this little boy could have so much pent up anger and resentment, and a vocabulary to match it. I did not know what to say or do.
Then something miraculous happened. Something divine took over me. I got eye level with the boy and said something to the effect of; I don’t care what you say about me, it does not change the fact that I love you. And if you ever say that again, I will only hug you and tell you how important you are to me. And then I gave him a hug.
I tell you, that kid was as shocked as I was moments earlier. He was now baffled and confused. I had no idea I would turn the tables.
From that moment on, every day when we met, he came running to me and we played. We became best buddies and we loved being around each other.
Hate, anger, bullying, violence and abuse are all very powerful things. Especially when it involves children. But what is more powerful than all this, is love. If you want to know how to change someone, love that person. Love them purely with no conditions or strings attached. Love them simply because they exist, and for no other reason at all. Express that love in your words and in your actions.
That is the cure for, not just this swearing toddler, but all of us.