Our granddaughters sat in the back seat and discussed their day as we drove home. Caitlin, three, had been at day care. She told her sister about the police officer who visited that day. She related how he caught the bad guys and kept people safe.
Sylvie, five, asked her sister numerous questions about the police officer and his work. Finally she asked, "Did he bring a bad guy for you to see?"
"No," said Caitlin.
Wouldn't it be great if we could easily tell who the bad guys were? It's never that easy.
In the dynamics of relationships, how do we teach our girls to recognize the bad guys? They need to know the warning signs, the possessiveness, the imposed isolationism, the resentment, the sense of superiority, the jealousy, to name a few. It is not as easy as spotting a certain look. The girls must learn everyone has dignity and deserves respect, which includes them.
We taught our daughter these lessons years ago and as a parent, with her husband, she will do the same for her girls. We will support them in this work, as our parents supported us. As we listened to our granddaughters, the weight of the work ahead felt overwhelming. But, that work has begun already with how we, the adults in their lives, treat them and each other. However, we cannot do it alone.
Tomorrow, women around the world will march to highlight the need for equality and respect. Attitudes and actions must change and it starts with each of us. Our children deserve better.