Though you may not be out today protesting, I know one day you may feel so passionate about something that you will. I understand that feeling, because I was young once (believe it or not) and remember well the feeling that my voice was not being heard in our world. Before you do, I ask you to consider some things.
I support your right to protest. Even if I don’t agree with you on many subjects, and may not agree with your reasons for protesting, I support your right to do it. Along with every other American, you have the right to raise up your voice and try to be heard. You have the right to protest peacefully for things that you believe in. I will never stand in judgement of you for doing that.
You do not have the right to harm other people or property. On this, your father and I cannot bend. When you are making your voice heard, you have no right to harm other people or the things they own. You have been raised better than that. Do not let your passion overcome your reason. Stay calm, even when those around you may be losing their heads.
Learning to listen will serve you well. All around you, there will be people who do not agree with you. They will be equally passionate about their stand, and will want to tell you why. Listen to them. Offer the respect that you have been taught all your life. Show them that you are reasonable and can listen to the other side without making it into a fight. I know how badly you want to be right, because you have gotten that drive directly from me, but take a step back and hear what they need to say.
Remember, we all want most of the same things. In the end of the day, we all want happiness and safety. We want to be warm and fed. We want to find fulfillment and joy in our lives. This is not different for the people with opposing views to your own. Try to find some common ground. It’s there and I know you have the skills to see it.
Don’t disrespect our flag. My son, you know better than the average young person just what kind of sacrifices have been made to protect our country’s rights and freedoms. I ask you to continue to respect our flag. No matter how inflamed things become, do not treat our country’s flag with disrespect. Think of your own relatives who fought under those colors, and treat that flag as an extension of them.
If you break the law, I will not defend you. Just like in your elementary school years, if you break the rules…you will have to live with the consequences. I am not sorry that I have never been a mother to bail you out of trouble caused by your own actions. This is no different. Follow the laws, and don’t even think for a minute that if you break them you won’t get caught. You know better, so I expect you to do better. If people around you are becoming out of control, it is time to walk away.
Lastly, come back to us. You are always welcome here at our table. Whether we agree with you or not, come back to your home and feel safe here. Never feel unwelcome because of any difference in beliefs. We have built this home for you, and you should always feel loved here. Your father and I will love you to our last breath.