An ocean full of various creatures.
Some visible, some not.
It's an ocean of 5-8 year olds.
Now, my ocean is pretty big.
The star, or starfish since I'm totally sticking with this ocean theme, is my own daughter Gigi.
I get to see her with her friends at recess everyday that she has school.
Growing emotionally and socially.
Because I'm the adult out there with the whistle.
This ocean is full of blondes, brunettes, curls, buzzcuts, and freckles.
Lots of freckles.
It's full of chubby kids and kids that look like they barely eat.
There are eyeglasses and a hearing aid and some leg braces.
Snotty noses and drooly mouths abound.
And within this ocean of children that I swim in every afternoon, I hear things.
You know the old adage "out of the mouths of babes" don't you?
Well, let me tell you...these babes will spill it all if they like you.
And I guess these kids love me more than marshmallows.
Because I have heard the following...
-grandma had a knife in case her boyfriend came back
-the police came and checked our arms and back for bruises
-I get spanked too hard
-my mom yells at me every day and I don't know why
You get it.
Some kids have it pretty rough.
But something really sparked within me today when a girl told me the following...
-we don't celebrate Halloween because my mom says it's devil worshipping.
Okay, that didn't really surprise me because that's a pretty common holiday misconception.
But she kept talking...
-oh, we don't like Catholics. Or those Muslims. They are really bad.
I asked her what religion she was and she proudly said "Christian!", but had no idea where in the realm of Christianity she was supposed to lie.
So, here's my thing with this conversation.
She hadn't listened enough to her parents to know what religion she was, but she sure knew who to hate.
Not that she currently even understands in her 7 year old brain what being Muslim or Catholic means.
But it's there.
And now I'm bringing this full circle and I'm diving back into the ocean now...
Back into the blue salty water, but I'm not going too far in.
I'm sticking close to a tide pool.
Where the sponges are.
The sponges that soak up all that's around them.
And I think you're still with me and you'll agree that the kids I'm surrounded by every afternoon represent the sponges here.
And it makes me sad to know that the hate in our world is taught and continues to be taught by ignorant people who decided to have sex and then raise children in their hate-filled houses.
These people surely love their kids and feed them and send them to school and buy them new shoes.
And they teach hate.
By saying an entire group of people, based soley on their religion, are to be looked down upon.
And the kids hear.
And repeat this hate.
And tell others.
Not realizing what they are becoming.
Because they are 7 years old.
It happens all over the world.
Every day someone on this planet is at war with someone else because of religion.
And it always starts at home.
Be it a mud hut, a mansion, or a humble 3 bedroom ranch.
This fear of others turns into hate and becomes dark, gooey oil that spoils the beautiful creatures that reside within the warm waves of our planet.
And we, as guardians of this blue wonder, must do better.
Because we are all swimming in this together.