Amores. Just got off air on Vocalo, where I was talking about how I talked to my child about this election. I know many of us are struggling with this today, and for the record, I am not an expert on parenting, but if it helps, here is a summary of what I said:
1.) The most important thing we can do right now for our children is to remind them that we love them and we will do everything we can, ALWAYS, to keep them safe. As my partner points out, this election cycle has painted both candidates as monsters, and Trump in particular has been in focus as someone who is actively violent/calling for violence. Children need to know that he is not coming for them RIGHT THIS SECOND.
2.) Our job as parents and guardians of children is to communicate and model our values. I know there are some people who voted for Trump based on economic policy, not social values, and they too may be wondering how to reconcile that in their homes. The reality is that individual family values are never entirely in line with what is happening in our larger politics, and so we must ALWAYS be having conversations with our children about what we believe and demonstrating what that looks like in practice. Remind them that doesn't change.
3.) Our daughter was relatively nonchalant about the news, in part because she is lives in a city and a state where neither mayor nor our governor reflect our values. She knows that there are things we can do, no matter who is in charge, to make change in our communities. Beyond that, she understands that our family believes we MUST ALWAYS be working to make change, to defend others, to speak up. That has been the case under Obama, would have been under Clinton, and certainly will be under Trump.
4.) If there is any hope to be found in last night's results it is that when people get together, they can make change. In this case, I'm DISMAYED by what people got together to do, but it is a reminder of what people can accomplish together. I am emphasizing to my daughter the power of building coalition, strength in numbers, and focusing on strategies for a larger goals.
5.) We have work to do. And we need it. If your children are in despair, there has been no better time to get them involved in a change effort STAT.
Finally, I think it is okay to cry, to be angry, to show our feelings. I want my daughter to grow up knowing that we invest in the things we believe in with all our hearts, even if sometimes our hearts get broken. Because remember - the heart is a muscle. It is stronger and healthier when we exercise its fullest range.