Police brutality? Dirty cops? Breaking the law while hiding behind the badge? Yep – seen it all. Ever since I was a child, I developed a strong dislike for cops (and no, I don’t have a criminal record). Perhaps even a hatred throughout certain periods of life. For years, when I’d see a cop, my automatic response was that my stomach would turn and I’d mumble words of disgust. Throughout my childhood, this was the only thing I knew (I won’t be getting into the details in this post.). It spread throughout my teen years and into my young adult years. Then, not in one moment, but gradually, I began to rationalize these feelings and reflect on the actions I had seen over the years.
Today, I am not one of the people protesting and throwing bricks at police. Yes, I have seen many of them do illegal things, but I decided that throwing more negativity into the situation would not help. I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot judge an entire professional field based on some individuals I’ve encountered over the years. Police are human – there are good ones and bad ones. I don’t think they should be judged on a different level. At the time of this personal transition, I was a teacher. I analyzed the crowd in my field; there were good teachers and crappy ones. I thought about doctors I met over the years; some were scamming systems and other were genuine about their services. The list went on and on. Humans make up the work force. That being said, there will be “good” and “bad” in every career field. Slowly…very slowly…my anger began to ease.
Flash forward to today – I am a new(ish) mother of a young boy. Before he was born, I told myself that I would not let my experiences with law enforcement impact his understanding of who police are. I wanted him to have a clean slate. I sincerely hoped that he would see the good in the same people whom I had built up so much anger against. As his mother, I didn’t want him to carry that anger (Or any anger at all in an ideal world.). So far, I think I’ve done pretty well with this goal, so to say. Today it was tested.
In the morning, Little One was playing with his toy cars while I was telling him the names of each specific vehicle. He had a police car, a bus (One of his new favorite words.) and a firetruck. My goal was for him to begin to see the differences in each car and identify them correctly. We had “bah” for bus, “peace” for police (Kind of ironic now that I actually typed that.) and “_____” for firetruck (Apparently this one was harder.). A few hours later, we found ourselves coming out of the market where a police SUV was parked. I told Little One, “Look! It’s a police car. Remember? Police car.” He just laughed at me (as if I was making up some funny story) and we continued walking. We then approached a crosswalk where the same police SUV was now stopped at the red light.
I pointed to the vehicle and tried to remind Little One again about the police car. He began laughing and waving to the officers as we walked by. The officer driving then rolled down his window and called us over (Back in the day, this would have made me nearly vomit.) Our family walked over to the car where the officer proceeded to hand my son his trading card (The police in
our city have cards like baseball cards with facts about them and their picture that they hand out to the youth. I don’t know many details about it, but I’m guessing it is a way to build community between the two groups.). Little One simply beamed with joy as he took the card and we walked away. Since it was windy, I tried to take the card from him so it would not blow away; however, he was not willing to give it up. He proudly held on tight to his new little treasure. And I took a deep breath and smiled as I comfortably realized that this is where the anger ends. Today I discovered that I am successfully curbing this cycle so that the next generation in my family can develop a healthier outlook on the people who help protect our communities.
Ahmeli… that we, as parents, will allow our children to grow without making our negative experiences be their foundation.
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