You don’t escape a riptide by fighting the current, you must swim in a completely different direction. In such a situation, however, that is not our natural instinct. So how would one know or learn it? Through being taught or seeing the actions demonstrated.

As we celebrate our country’s birthday, may we also acknowledge the freedoms we should be teaching and demonstrating. We should be free to love, not free to hate. Free to serve, not free to be self-serving. Free to give, not take. For one person to be right, another does not necessarily have to be wrong.

There is a third option between your way and my way, and we find it when both parties are willing to get out of the way. I can love you but not have to agree with you. I can respect you although I might not follow you. And if I don’t look like, talk like, or act like you, all the more reasons for us to get to know each other.

“This escalating culture of violence and death is a by-product of subtler hostilities that lie beneath the surface in human hearts everywhere. A quick glance at the news or the average social media feed reveals an undercurrent of hostility. Hatred and anger can be seen in many spheres,” writes author and pastor Scott Sauls.

Contrary to our current culture, we can’t just push in the opposite direction and expect to get our way. We must take a completely different approach. Like a rip tide, you don’t survive by swimming against the current or simply giving in and letting the current sweep you away. We must go in a different direction.

Start where lives intersect, and take a turn. Listen, and attempt to understand. This doesn’t mean you are changing your position, or taking the other side; you are listening and appreciating the reasoning behind decisions or actions, and loving the people behind those decisions and actions.

That is what our youth need to see prioritized, taught and demonstrated. If not, this undercurrent of hostility will grow stronger and continue sucking the life out of generations to come. Hatred, anger and pride wipe out love, unity and strength. May we celebrate our freedoms and enjoy a diverse unity, demonstrating love and respect in our own spheres of influence for future generations to see and carry forward.

Carissa Marine serves as CEO of the Champion for Children Foundation. The office is at 419 E. Center Ave., Sebring, FL 33870. Contact the office by calling 863-382-2905 or learn more at www.ChampionforChildren.org.

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