Parents and schools do need to “teach children the horrors of hate, and to speak up in fierce opposition to it,” but the best way they can convey positive lessons of respect and inclusion is to model the behavior (“Hate descends on Mass. schools,” Renée Graham, Opinion, Nov. 18).
Adults sometimes say, “It’s too late for us oldsters to change; let’s concentrate on the kids.” That is a defeatist attitude that diminishes the message to their children because, at any age, we can push against our comfort zones, examine our prejudices, and become better citizens.
By going beyond preaching the values of brotherhood to teaching by example, parents have stronger impact. Adults making new efforts, in full view of young people, to engage in friendly, open-minded ways with members of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious groups and LGBT people can be a pathway toward healing our painful divisions.