As America continues to be a divided country, the adults are setting the stage for how their children will behave in the future. The cycle of hate, misunderstanding, divisiveness, and disrespect has been passed down for generations. We may think our generation was the most respectful and raised with the most morals, but in reality, all generations think that.

The current state of affairs in America is dangerous and unsustainable. The timelines on the internet are full of people wanting to make a point and quickly calling names rather than trying to consider the opinions of others. Our childish actions online spill over to our day-to-day lives as well. Our children see us yell at our televisions, gossip to our friends on the phone, and speak negatively about people because they are different.

The movements making traction in the U.S. – which are only united by the ground claimed and not by the unity of American ideals – are “Black Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter”; the “Remove” or “Do Not Remove” statue movement; the controversy over whether to wear a mask or not. These issues fill the internet, the office break rooms, the SMS messages, and the emails of everyday Americans.

There is so much passion on both sides of each of these issues. America is a passionate country, and Americans dig in and hold tight to their convictions. The ability to listen and try to comprehend a different point of view is truly patriotic. Shouting down the opposition is not the way to move our country forward, but we all continue to feed into the destruction of our country from the inside. We do not have to worry about foreign powers ruining America; we are doing it ourselves, day after day. The more we tear each other down with disingenuous memes and short-sided comments, we will continue to pass down hate and stupidity to our children.

This is our time to do better, America. How do we do better? We start with desegregating our lives. We must try to understand other cultures not only by watching stereotypical movies, but by actually engaging others who look, think, pray, and feel differently than we do. Yes, we may say to ourselves that we do not see color, but we would be wrong. There is no problem seeing the color, the ethnicity, and the religious preference of others. That makes them who they are, and it makes us who we are.

Next, when you see posts that trigger you to want to quickly answer and defend your views or beliefs, try to see the views of the people who posted the comments. Engage them to see if they can educate you on their views and see if they are willing to allow you to do the same. Try to be the adult who lives above all the mess in America, and spread more positivity on your timelines, text messages, and emails. I know it’s sometimes fun to get into a little scuffle online where you felt you made your point, and I would not tell you not to engage in those activities. But just try to sprinkle in a bit of understanding between sarcastic responses.

We get one chance at a better America in our lives. We are given time on Earth to either do good or do damage to this world. Pick the side of doing good in this world. Most Americans truly want to see others succeed and have prosperous lives, and for the most part, opposing sides are not that far apart on their views.

Corey Carolina is an NSU graduate, North Tulsa entrepreneur and activist, and owner of Carolina Food Co., which produces Toasted Wine Fruit Spreads. He is an author, his first book being “The Absent Father.”