In recent years, there has been an alarming rise in the number of people who seek to silence those with whom they disagree. Rather than engaging in thoughtful and meaningful discussion, people would rather just shut it down and label it as “offensive.” Fueled by social media, this phenomenon, often referred to as “cancel culture,” has had a chilling effect on free speech.
People today are afraid to speak their minds for fear of being attacked, ostracized, or losing their job. When people are afraid to speak up, it silences dialogue and stifles the exchange of ideas. This isn’t just harmful to our country and democracy—but also to our children.
Imagine your kids living in a world where they are unable to freely exchange ideas, challenge beliefs, and ultimately find common ground with others. Do you want your child to grow up in a society where they can get fired from their job for simply posting a controversial opinion on social media?
“The goal of cancel culture is
to make decent Americans live in fear
of being fired, expelled, shamed,
humiliated, and driven from
society as we know it.”
-Donald J. Trump (45th U.S. President)
They would be living in constant fear of saying the wrong thing, being excluded by their peers, and being canceled by society. This isn’t the world we want for our children, yet it’s the world we’re creating when we refuse to listen to opposing viewpoints. It’s time to put aside our differences and unite as a country. Otherwise, we condemn our children to a lifetime of division and intolerance.
“Political correctness does not
legislate tolerance; it only organizes
-Jacques Barzun (Distinguished Historian, Author, & Educator)
Political Correctness & Cancel Culture
Political correctness and cancel culture are two of the biggest threats to free speech in America today. The First Amendment guarantees Americans the right to express themselves freely, but political correctness has created an environment where people are too afraid to speak their minds for fear of offending someone.
Cancel culture takes it one step further by trying to silence or punish anyone who disagrees with prevailing opinions. We must learn to respect and value differing opinions, even if we don’t agree with them. Otherwise, we risk losing one of our most fundamental rights.
“People should be free to say what
they want to say and free to discuss
a wide range of topics & political views
without just being
shut down, silenced, & canceled.”
-Sean Hannity (Fox News)
Make Disagreeing Respectful Again
What happened to the days when you could have a civil debate and exchange ideas freely without screaming at one another? When did we become so unwilling to listen to others? Maybe we’ve become so entrenched in our own beliefs that we simply can’t see any other perspective.
Nowadays, thanks to social media and the internet, we’ve become very good at surrounding ourselves with people who agree with us—and ONLY us. When all we ever hear are opinions that align with our own, it can create an echo chamber where our beliefs are never challenged. And when you only ever hear one side of the story, it’s easy to start seeing the other side as heartless monsters.
Instead, we should actively seek out information that contradicts our beliefs. This will help us to identify our own blind spots and learn more about the areas where we may be wrong. It might be uncomfortable, but it’s essential for keeping our democracy healthy. By being exposed to different viewpoints, we are challenged to think critically about our own beliefs and assumptions. In many cases, we may even find that we have more in common with others than we initially thought.
“And a good sign as to whether there is free speech is— is someone you don’t like allowed
to say something you don’t like?
And if that is the case, then we have free speech.”
-Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla Motors & SpaceX)
Our Children Are the Future
Maybe it’s time we all took a step back and remembered that we’re all human beings who deserve to be respected, regardless of our opinions. You can greatly impact this by instilling a sense of compassion, tolerance, and respect in your children. This tolerant and respectful attitude will be a much-needed breath of fresh air in a world increasingly divided by differing viewpoints. Our youth is the future, and if we want to see change, we should start with them.
Follow These Tips to Help Your Children Grow Into Compassionate, Tolerant, & Respectful Adults:
First and Foremost, You Must Model This Behavior Yourself!
This goes without saying, but if you want your kids to grow up to be compassionate, respectful, and tolerant adults, you need to model that behavior yourself. You can’t expect your kids to respect others if you pick fights with people everywhere you go. Instead, try to resolve conflicts peacefully and with respect.
When you’re discussing controversial topics with family, friends, or even strangers, take the time to LISTEN to what the other person is saying and truly consider their point of view. Avoid getting defensive or raising your voice. Instead, try to find common ground and work towards a compromise. It’s essential to be inclusive and open-minded in your interactions with others.
If you’re constantly putting people down or mocking them, your kids will learn to do the same. But if you treat everyone with kindness and respect, your kids will be more likely to follow suit. So next time you’re tempted to roll your eyes or make a snarky comment, remember that your kids are watching and learning from your example. They’ll be better adults for it in the long run.
Expose Your Children to Different Cultures and Perspectives.
Books are an excellent way to expose your children to different cultures and perspectives. Look for books that feature characters from diverse backgrounds and that tell stories set in various parts of the world. Reading about other cultures can help children understand and appreciate their differences.
Conversations are another great way to expose your children to different viewpoints. Talk with your kids about other cultures and religions. Help them to understand that we all come from different places and have different experiences, but that doesn’t mean we’re not all equal. Explain that even though we may be different on the outside, we are all the same on the inside- we are all human. It is important for adults to remember this, too!
Lastly, if you have the opportunity to travel with your children, you should! Not only will they see different sights and learn about new customs first-hand, but they’ll also get a chance to meet people from all over the world. This broadens their horizons and helps them learn to respect different lifestyles and viewpoints. Children are like sponges; they absorb everything around them.
Teach Your Children HOW to Disagree With Others Respectfully.
Kids will inevitably have disagreements with friends, classmates, siblings, and, yes—(unfortunately for you) their parents, too. But it’s crucial that they learn how to express their opinions WITHOUT belittling, name-calling, or insulting the other person.
First, it is vital to encourage your children to express their opinion calmly and clearly. Remind them to take deep breaths when they feel frustrated or overwhelmed. Second, they should avoid personal attacks and instead focus on the issue at hand. Lastly, they should always be willing to LISTEN to the other person’s point of view.
With so many different voices and opinions out there, it’s essential that kids learn how to listen with an open mind and appreciate the value of other people’s perspectives. This is not something kids innately know how to do; you must explicitly teach them. When kids are taught to listen to others and value their opinions—even when they differ from their own—they are more likely to grow into adults who can work together for the common good. It is okay to “agree to disagree” as long as it’s done in a calm and respectful manner.
Encourage Your Children to Speak Up for What They Believe.
This doesn’t mean that you should encourage your kids to start fights or engage in negative behavior, but it does mean that you should help them to find their voice and speak out against injustice. It’s important to teach your children that they have a right to express their opinions, thanks to the First Amendment and that they shouldn’t be afraid to stand up to anyone who tries to silence them.
Furthermore, it’s essential to encourage your children to listen to criticism and use it as a learning opportunity instead of allowing it to bring them down. Helping your children develop into confident individuals who can stand up for themselves and their beliefs is one of the most important things you can do as a parent.
Cancel “Cancel Culture”
It seems like people these days are more polarized than ever. It’s nearly impossible to have a calm, rational discussion when it feels like everyone is just shouting at each other. All too often, people resort to name-calling and personal attacks instead of trying to understand the other side.
If we’re ever going to find common ground in America, we need to start learning how to disagree respectfully again. This includes instilling these values in our children. Adults and children alike need to listen to others with an open mind, be willing to compromise, and treat each other with basic decency, respect, and kindness. Only then can we start to heal these divisions in our society.
“Our society is built on the values of free speech & mutual respect, but cancel culture rejects both.
In place of free speech, it demands
conformity. Instead of mutual respect,
it tears people down.”
-Nikki Haley (former governor of South Carolina)
This post is sponsored by the Kids Guide to Free Speech & Cancel Culture. For information about this product, please click here.
Do you stand for freedom of speech in America? Let us know why or why not in the comments!