We’ve still got a long way to go, mamas

In the spirit of the World Cup, I really wanted to get into something that weighs heavy on me during this type of tournament. Maybe you or your partner are rooting for your favourite team, or maybe you’re not that interested at all. Either way, I think this may affect you in some way or another.

Personally, I greatly enjoy it! Coming from a Croatian background, it is always super exciting to sit back and watch your country shine. Even if they don’t do great, or don’t go far, you are so proud of what they accomplish. That “little country next to Italy” makes a mark! There is something so magnetic about the energy that soccer brings into this type of tournament. You want the world to know about your country and you’re just so proud!!

So where am I going with this? What does this have to do with being a mama? Well, I want to shed some light on why I feel it’s great to be proud, but not too proud. Please feel me out on this.

It’s amazing to let everyone know where you’re from and what you stand for and I am all for that. Everyone should always feel comfortable practicing whatever types of traditions they hold dear to their hearts. You should be free. Whatever you believe in, whatever or whoever you love, I will support you. That remains true to my family, friends, and acquaintances – all across the board. What I’m trying to say is: When pride turns into hate or a feeling of superiority toward other cultures/countries/groups, there is a problem. Plain and simple. I can’t believe this needs to be written in 2018, but it does (and obviously I am not the only one who has). Unfortunately it is the harsh reality of the world we live in, and we as mamas, as parents and as a society need to make a change.

A lot of you already are. You are open to everyone and you are genuinely intrigued to learn more about others. AMAZING! You are learning from one another. This affects your children completely. They see you, they imitate you, and your beliefs are their own (for now…). But then they grow up and are super supportive individuals! Cool! You have a huge part in this. Heavy stuff, I know. I hope that we can build generations of children under us who are passionate about humanity, who care for each other, and who are totally non-judgemental. This is big, and of course it doesn’t happen overnight.

I went through a complicated time in my relationship with my husband. I won’t go into too many details here because I would end up writing a book about it, even though I’m on a roll right now! Basically, some “close family members” and “friends” completely stopped talking to me because I was getting serious with someone who comes from a Serbian/Bosnian background. Google Balkan war in the ’90s if you are not familiar with why this would be a problem. Let me be clear that this had nothing to do with my then-boyfriend’s personality or character. They didn’t know him at this point.

Literally overnight. A huge shift. I didn’t exist anymore to these people who I was so tight with. My crew was just gone. How could I be so wrong and disgusting? “What kind of Croatian are you?”

Almost magically, after years of grieving over close connections that I held so dear to my heart, the sadness lifted. I realized the incredible people that I had around me – they stuck by my side through the good times and the bad. And, I gained some incredible new ones in the process. So cliché, right? But honestly, it taught me a massive lesson in life and it’s better this way. Those ones are the real diamonds, and they know who they are.

A community (religious, cultural, etc) should always protect their members and support them through what is going on in their lives. What’s not helpful is turning a blind eye and disappearing. I understand that people get uncomfortable with things that they don’t understand, which translates to fear – then hate – and it takes work to change your ways. But it’s not that hard.

So, mamas, let’s really make an effort to love each other. Most importantly for our children. So they can go to school supporting each other regardless of what someone else looks like or what they believe in, or where they come from. We’re a diverse nation; we are so lucky! Let’s be positive in our conversations about people in front of our children, because as we all know very well, they pick up on everything! Children see the beauty in everyone; maybe it’s time we learn something from them. You CAN understand, we CAN be better, and we CAN build a healthier community for our kids.

Exhale. Now shake it, and have a listen:

“Look how far we’ve come now, there’s beauty in the unity we’ve found. Hands up for your colours!”

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