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Challenge: Open Discussion

"Mommy, should I be scared that Trump won?"

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Divisiveness, Racism, Segregation, Fear. These are most often the words used to describe how Donald Trump (and his team) ran his campaign. Now, as we wake up to the reality that he will be our next President, we must come together, persevere and figure out how we talk to our children about “what happens now.” If you believed in Trump and are happy with the situation - congratulations on the outcome and I hope for all of us he is the President you must have believed he could be.

Yesterday my social media feeds were filled with words and pictures of optimism, children participating in the voting process, and encouraging sentiments. Today, those same feeds are filled with dread for what’s to come and sadness for what just happened.

How did we miss the boat to elect our First Woman President and when will that opportunity come again?

What’s important now is that we NOT fixate on what went wrong or what could have been. What’s important now is to march forward, heads held high and choose to make positive impacts in our future, with our children and for our children.

Hillary Clinton ran her campaign on the idea that we are stronger, together. We are. The world is watching with baited breath right now. Let’s show them that we will come together, as a people, as a nation, and move forward. Sounds easy, right? Parents can and should be at the forefront of this movement. We need to model humility, compassion and optimism. What does this look like, right now, and what do we do, right now, to help our children, and ourselves, through these challenging times?

  1. We persevere. This lesson of perseverance is one that is incredibly difficult to teach to our children. As such, we can use this and what our Country is experiencing to talk about how we don’t “stay down” when we get knocked down. This theme is often seen in athletics but helping our children translate the message into everyday life can take years. Use this election as a way to talk about moving forward in the face of adversity.
  2. We validate and share our concerns. Our children are scared because they don’t know what is going to happen. Neither do we. If we’re all being honest with each other, we never know how a new President (Democrat or Republican) will ultimately shape our nation over the course of 4 or 8 years. We often go into this with blind faith but “the unknown” can cause fear. So, talk about this with your children. Tell them it’s okay to be scared or nervous – you are too. But remember, it is equally and I’d argue more important to remind them that just because we don’t know what will happen, doesn’t mean that it will be bad. The most important thing here is to talk. Talk to your SigO, your friends, your family, your Government Representatives and your children. Then turn this talk into change.
  3. We CAN change the system. Let this be the biggest lesson from this election: If you don’t like it, get involved and change it! Find opportunities for change with your children. Yes, they should vote with you but more importantly, they should understand what they’re voting for and why. If you or they don’t like something, speak up, act out. We have an amendment that protects us. Change can and should always start at the base. Don’t underestimate your power – and your child’s power – to make a genuine difference.
  4. We become eternal optimists. You can check out what I said to my girls when I woke them up, this AM, below. But the big take-away here is that the Country has elected a President. We know that much of what politicians say while campaigning is nothing more than rhetoric. Now, until President-elect Trump actually DOES something deplorable, we need to give him a chance. It’s time we become optimistic for our Country’s possibilities. It is my genuine hope that he renounces Putin, the KKK and his “Grand Wall.” It is my genuine hope that Roe. V. Wade doesn’t fade into the past. It is my genuine hope that marriage equality for all remains a reality. Until I see Trump taking steps that I wholeheartedly disagree with, I will remain optimistic that the women and advisors in his life will find a way to have a positive impact on him. And if this doesn’t happen, see #3.
  5. We will keep you safe. Our kids need to know that we will always fight for their safety. Just keep repeating this. It will sink in.

When my daughters awoke this morning, filled with dread, as to what their day at school might be like, I said this: “Look, the majority of the Country made a decision that we personally don’t agree with. That doesn’t mean, however, that they are wrong. This isn’t about right or wrong anymore. This is no longer about what happened during the election process. Now, we need to hope that Mr. Trump (and his team) make good decisions for us and all the people that live in the United States and the rest of the world. We are going to be optimistic and choose to work together for positive change. Hopefully things go well; but if it doesn’t, we will be writing letters, volunteering and doing whatever we can to make things better. If he does a great job, then we’ll all be happy about it, together. And if he doesn’t do a good job, then we (as a Country) have an opportunity to elect someone new in 4 years. Most importantly, you need to know that you are safe and mommy and daddy will keep you safe. ”

My daughter’s response, “Maybe someday I can be the 1st Woman President.” I think my message may have gotten through.

Mr. Trump: The parents of this great Nation are looking to you to be a better role model than you have been, to date. Don’t try your best. Do you best. Surround yourself with excellent advisors who will lift you up and help you create a Presidency that positively impacts our lives, the world, and far surpasses anything we could have foreseen. It is now in your hands. Don’t let us, or our children, down.

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