The word “Hate”

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To hate is to have no love in your heart.

When our kids started to talk, we realized how repellant it was to us when words like ugly, stupid, dumb and hate came out of their little mouths. I am sure they can both remember us saying, “We don’t say those words, please choose a better word.”

These days we hear the word “hate” often. We live in very polarized times, and we are encouraged to hate those who are not like us, think differently from us, and make different choices than we would make. We are also quick to respond to anything that goes wrong with hatred toward the person responsible. Someone cuts off us off in traffic, they become a villain. Our order isn’t quite right and we spew awful words at the waiter. It’s as if our filter for our actions has a hole in it. Social media is certainly a driver of this trend. Unfortunately people can say whatever they want to someone online and not have the emotional consequence of seeing the hurt it causes that person.

What if, as a daily practice, we censored ourselves from even saying the word “hate” and erased it from our vocabulary? Then in turn encouraged others to do the same. What if it became a four-letter word for our kids? I know this sounds almost utopian, but it’s my belief that small changes can steamroll into bigger changes. Its like a pebble thrown into water, the small splash it makes widens into bigger and bigger rings unit it becomes a wave arriving at the shore.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “If human beings can be trained for cruelty and greed and a belief in power which comes through hate and fear and force, certainly we can train equally well for greatness and mercy and the power of love which comes because of the strength of the good qualities to be found in the soul of every human being.”

I say we follow Eleanor’s lead.