Lady Bug was playing in the front yard and came running around to find us with a worried look on her face.
Lady Bug: Mom. Mom! There is a cop in the driveway! (very concerned)
Prima: The cops are here! Go in the house!
Supermom: Cops?! (looks in the driveway) Hang on guys. Why are you freaking out? And let’s say officer.
Upon further inspection, there was an officer who was making the rounds to distribute lollipops to neighborhood kids and do some outreach into the community. We assured the kids that they could have the treats and to be sure and thank the officer. It seems our talks about the horrible stories in the news made our kids nervous about authority.
So… we had a talk to put some context around all of our adult discussions around race, riots, and abuse of authority. We explained that there are thousands of officers across the US that have big hearts, strong morals, and good intentions. That officers aren’t some separate group from everyone else. They are citizens like everyone else. They put themselves on the line to defend citizens, to check for intruders, to look out for drunk drivers, and to help generally keep the public safe. In fact, we have lots of people who dedicate their lives to make others safe. There are fire fighters that are ready to respond and help in life threatening situations beyond fire like rescues and searches. Both professions have men and women who are totally committed to the public welfare and to honorable service.
The anger and fear around policing are relevant but the spotlight cases are a magnification of the giant web of public safety that is happening all around at any one time. We have family in law enforcement and we worry for their safety every day. I want them to stay safe and to make it home to their families each night. I want them also to always be sure that they respect the people that they come across in the line of duty. I hope they hold respect as a high standard among their coworkers. Set the bar high and keep it. We can support our officers and demand the law is applied fairly when lines are crossed.
So after we had this talk with the girls, Lady Bug looked thoughtful for a moment and said, “I want to give my cupcakes to some cops.”
“My birthday cupcakes. They gave me a lollipop and I want to say thank you with cupcakes.”
“Okay, Sure. Who said you have birthday cupcakes?”
Fast forward. Supermom made fifty something cupcakes of all different variety and they were delicious since she is a semi-pro baker. We loaded the cupcakes up the next day and drove down to the police station. We went into the front doors and met two officers who were initially skeptical of six people storming the lobby but were quickly calmed with the site of the bakery boxes. The officers introduced themselves and talked with the girls for a few minutes and gave them sticker badges, coloring books, and crayons. They were very happy for a kind gesture and doubly impressed that Lady Bug had decided to share her birthday cupcakes with them.
We had also talked about fire men and women who provide a critical community service so we took our last box of cupcakes and headed over to the local fire station that serves our neighborhood. It was a quiet Friday at the fire house so the three men on duty we excited to see us. Our gift of cupcakes was accepted and we were invited to take a full tour of the station. We saw the kitchen, lounge, garage, trucks, pumps, lights, and a fully suited up fireman. We got the extended tour and I had more questions than the kids. It was awesome.
I think it did the girls well to put some faces and names with the ideas of these services. They shared some stories of how they have served and we talked about things outside of anyone’s job. Meeting people always goes a long way to show that we are really all the same. We wake up and have a job to do that may have hard days or may not always carry the respect of those we serve but the job is still important.
We need to have discussions about what we can improve. We need to be aware and honest about the flaws of our system and the bias that we all carry towards something or someone. We need to call out evil quickly and with a loud voice. But we cannot afford to paint with a brush that is so broad that our strokes blur the picture. There are good officers and righteous protesters. There are those who seek to cause problems and paint their opponents with a single wide brush; Thugs. Cops. Murders. Looters. Paid Organizers. Fascist. Anti-fascists. Kneelers. Birthers. Truthers. Republicans. Democrats. Conservatives. Liberals. Christians. Muslims. Pastafarians. Blonde. Bald. Tall. Short. These are all just simple labels that are stereotypes. They allow the user to make assumptions about someone and save them from the torture of having to think about people on a case by case basis. Your ears should perk up whenever you hear these qualifiers in a headline.
Don’t get drawn into the all or nothing debates. Don’t use labels. People are people. Your complaints are most likely directed at toxic culture or flaws in the system. Or maybe they are directed at the terrible people who seem to bubble up daily. Judging them is fine by me as long as they have done the deeds to deserve it. Setting up straw-villains just widens the gap of misunderstanding and prevents the reasonable discussions that need to take place.
If you like cupcakes, this post is for you. You’re welcome. We could all use a more cupcakes between friends these days. I’m just pissed the girls gave them all away before I could levee my dad-tax of one cupcake as a taste test, which I think is somewhere in the Constitution.
-Underdaddy to the rescue.
- I know there is an unspoken (or spoken) competition for who is actually cooler between the folks in red and the folks in blue. As it sits right now, the fire boys got y’all beat. I’m going to need to see some spike strips or something to even things up. Thank you to Officer Ferguson and J. Williams on Pump Truck and C. Hanson on Ladder Truck. You guys made a little girls day!