It’s also part of something that I’ve been thinking a lot about this week – and that’s the responsibilities we have to each other. That’s certainly true with Father’s Day upon us.
I grew up without my father around. While I wonder what my life would have been like if he had been a greater presence, I’ve also tried extra hard to be a good dad for my own daughters. Like all dads, I worry about my girls’ safety all the time. Especially when we see preventable violence in places our sons and daughters go every day – their schools and houses of worship, movie theaters, nightclubs, as they get older. It’s unconscionable that we allow easy access to weapons of war in these places – and then, even after we see parents grieve for their children, the fact that we as a country do nothing to prevent the next heartbreak makes no sense.
So this past week, I’ve also thought a lot about dads and moms around the country who’ve had to explain to their children what happened in Orlando. Time and again, we’ve observed moments of silence for victims of terror and gun violence. Too often, those moments have been followed by months of silence. By inaction that is simply inexcusable. If we’re going to raise our kids in a safer, more loving world, we need to speak up for it. We need our kids to hear us speak up about the risks guns pose to our communities, and against a status quo that doesn’t make sense. They need to hear us say these things even when those who disagree are loud and are powerful. We need our kids to hear from us why tolerance and equality matter – about the times their absence has scarred our history and how greater understanding will better the future they will inherit. We need our kids to hear our words – and also see us live our own lives with love.
And we can’t forget our responsibility to remind our kids of the role models whose light shines through in times of darkness. The police and first responders, the lifesaving bystanders and blood donors. Those who comfort mourners and visit the wounded. The victims whose last acts on this earth helped others to safety. They’re not just role models for our kids – their actions are examples for all of us.