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Hating Hate

I’ve stared at a topic within the last 24 hours that I haven’t given much thought to for years and years.

Hate.

We’re a hateful society. Admit it and agree with me. How many times a day do you literally let the word “hate” spill out of your mouth? As kids, we grew up learning to hate various aspects of our lives – even our parents on occasion. As adults, hate has, I hope, taken a back seat in life.

But last night I sat down at the High School auditorium to watch the most recent directorial effort from child number one. My daughter has become a student director of theatre productions in recent years. The high school’s spring play this year is, “The Laramie Project” and not only does it address a hate crime, it also addresses such heavy topics as religion, sexuality and morals.

I enjoyed the play, which is moving – especially since I can easily recall the actual Wyoming event in which Matthew Sheppard was brutally beaten and tied to a fence in the middle of nowhere – left to die by a couple of thieves who just happened to prey on a young, gay college student. Sheppard died and his two assailants are spending their lives in prison.

But what I liked more was the concept of high school students taking on a play that is rife with major moral issues – and pushing what is potentially the most memorable of all teachable moment they’ll be exposed to this school year to the entire student body – as well as to teachers, parents and even the janitor.

Because, while it’s easy for us to say we’re tolerant or tell our kids, “…correct is correct and you must do what’s correct…” for most, it’s all to easy to slip back to habits learned in our childhood – when the mere tone of the word “gay” coming from our lips might be slathered in spit-covered sarcasm – no matter who we were talking to or what context we used the word.

There’s only one kind of hate that kids need to learn from us – and that’s that we hate the very concept of the word when used against anyone no matter their religious background, sexual orientation, race, or strong affinity to dogs instead of cats.

It’s how we teach our kids what we don‘t know that will help make them better adults – and a better
society than we ever thought possible.

-end-

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