It’s Time to Watch Our Words

I want to start off by saying that I know this election sucked.  Big time.  People weren’t happy with their choices (some were), the choices were polarized (why don’t we have a moderate party?), and we had someone win the popular vote and lose the electoral college (and that is always hard to swallow).

However, now is NOT the time to be slinging around predictions for the future.  And you know why? Because the little people are listening to you.  When I told my kids about the election results, I had one old enough to shrug it off and say “we have checks and balances, so even if the president tries to be extreme, congress can check him” and I had two in tears.  TEARS.

You guys, I work for a politician.  They have the rare opportunity to know that not every politician is a blood-sucking monster from the black lagoon- but they cried.  “My friend at hockey said his mom told him that Donald Trump is going to start World War 3.”  “My friend at co-ops’ dad told her that Donald Trump is going to kill black people.” “My friend at church’s mom said that Donald Trump is going to kick out her cousins and they’re all going to have to move to Canada, too.” (I was also given a list of what their friends told them would have happened had Clinton won ranging from World War 3 to not being allowed to homeschool anymore. Apparently we were destined for World War 3.)

Well, alright then.  I’d cry, too.  And I am not debating the validity of any of these points (and I’m not not debating it either.)  My point here is this:  the weight of our political system should NOT rest on the shoulders of our children.

I will explain.

Your kids, my kids, and the kids down the street should not have to shoulder the burden of what we’ve all just done.  They couldn’t vote.  It’s not their fault.  So they certainly should not be in tears thinking that we are headed for an imminent apocalypse.

Can you tell them you’re unhappy?

Heck yes.

Can you tell them you’re happy?

Please do.

But either way, please do it in a constructive way.  I don’t think that anyone runs for the presidency with the express goal of ruining America. However, we can all think different things.  So if you’re unhappy, try going with:

 “I’m not happy with the outcome, but we’re going to find ways to make sure that our voices are heard. We really care about (issue) in our family, so we’re going to make sure that we (give money/volunteer/write to our congressperson) so that issue doesn’t get lost.  The best part about America is that we all get to be a part of the process.”
And if you’re just as happy as could be, try doing that constructively, too:
“You know, I am pleased with how this turned out, but it’s important to remember that a lot of people feel differently than that, and our country works the best when we work together, so I am sure that’s going to be a goal of our new president. If you have friends that are worried or upset, don’t gloat and remind them they’re still your friends.”
But it is not fair to make your kids think that fire is going to rain down on our heads.  That is a level of stress that elementary children should not have to deal with.  This fear is VERY real for some of them, and it’s our job as parents to let them know they are safe, they are loved, and so are their friends who feel the same/differently about politics than they do.  And if you think they’re not safe, it’s our job as parents to let them know that we have options in our political system, and they don’t include cowering in fear.
Oh- and remember that kids don’t read sarcasm the same way adults do.  If they hear you say “We’re moving to Canada” they don’t necessarily know that you are joking and will spend hours struggling in their little brains with the fact that their whole life is going to get uprooted when you were just expressing your displeasure at the results.
It’s time to watch our words and pick a constructive course of action, because our kids deserve to not be scared.

2 comments on “It’s Time to Watch Our Words”

  • Jessica Hata says:

    Wonderful post!!!!! This is the best thing I’ve read in awhile. Thank you for this.

  • Asami says:

    I really like this post. It’s so much more positive than the typical tripe I’ve found about how to involve your kids in political discussions. Thank you for your insights. While my children would be happy to move to Canada (they really like Canadian geese), they still love the USA.

    They were very upset to discover the results of the election, but overall, our family’s take has been “God’s in control. He can use anyone for anything, and our job is to love one another.” Our second child said something to the effect of, “This is when we have to stand up for what’s right and protect others from what’s wrong.”

    We’re allowed to be displeased, just do it in a constructive manner.

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