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Allyson Zadeh: For the sake of my kids and yours, stop the madness
[December 19, 2012]

Allyson Zadeh: For the sake of my kids and yours, stop the madness

Dec 18, 2012 (Greeley Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Allyson Zadeh Age: 35 Family: Husband, Reza; Daughter, Olivia (4), son, Owen (2) and a baby coming in April 2013 Occupation: Wife, mom, household manager, taxi driver, secretary, emergency responder, nurse, referee, "chef," maid, etc.

About: I grew up in Greeley (GCHS Class of '95!) and have made it so far as the thriving metropolis of Windsor. I had an 8-year detour in Fort Collins as an instructor at CSU and Front Range Community College, but our family has settled here in Windsor and I'm never. Moving. Again. We love it here! I enjoy chocolate, books, dogs and a good step aerobics class. I do not particularly care for cats, mayonnaise or mean people.

Our world has changed in the last 96 hours and we are all still reeling. My hope and prayer has been that this wake-up call would awaken a gentler side of humanity.

But I'm not sure that has happened.

Social media has gone bananas with people's opinions about gun control. I watched a prominent news personality bait an interviewee last night and then attack for simply answering the question presented. The people from Westboro are planning to picket the Connecticut funerals. (This last fact makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. Evil promoting evil is what they are.) I have seen malice and name calling and vile rhetoric.



For the sake of my kids and yours, stop the madness. Whatever happened to respectful discourse If people spent as much time strengthening their own relationships and families as they do attacking others for their viewpoint we might actually get somewhere.

My experience as a communication teacher demands that I remind people of a couple important things: empathy and mindfulness.

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes. If you haven't yet, read this blog. It went viral this weekend for a reason. Being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes is a skill that we really should be teaching our kids -- but if grown-ups aren't practicing it, how will our kids learn Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness Stress Reduction Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, defines mindfulness as "paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally." This means focusing our thought energy on what is in front of us at the moment and being present in whatever we are doing at the moment. It includes being mindful in our speech, which means abstaining from lying, divisive speech, abusive speech and idle chatter. Choose your words wisely! My mom used to say if it's unkind, untrue or unnecessary, don't say it! Put down the cell phones. Unplug the laptop or TV. Ask your kids questions and interact with them. Get to know your neighbors. Volunteer. Adopt a family this Christmas. Get involved in something bigger than yourself -- even though you "may not have time," I can assure you that once you make time, you'll realize that a lot of things filling your time were useless.

Relationships are the foundational building blocks upon which a society is built. If you're worried about society (and most of us are) we are going to need to get down to the foundation and rebuild. Stop trying to change the world as a whole and start changing your marriage...your relationship with your kids...friendships...working relationships...and the people with whom you interact every day.

This wasn't the blog I was planning to write six days before Christmas, but I can't stay quiet anymore about the sad, disrespectful way I believe people are interacting.

Be nice! It's Christmas. And even if it wasn't, we should be good for goodness sake; loving things that are true, pure and right. It's work and it requires us to step outside ourselves, but if we're going to change the downward spiral our society seems to be in, we each need to take responsibility and do what needs to be done.

I sincerely wish you and yours a wonderful holiday. And I hope that we can all work together to make 2013 the year that America comes out of the pit, one relationship at a time.

Allyson Zadeh is married with two children and one on the way. Read her Wednesdays on Greeley Moms.

This wasn\'t the blog I was planning to write six days before Christmas, but I can\'t stay quiet anymore about the sad, disrespectful way I believe people are interacting.

___ (c)2012 the Greeley Tribune (Greeley, Colo.) Visit the Greeley Tribune (Greeley, Colo.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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