What Next?: How to move forward as parents and believers post-election
As a parent, you sometimes struggle with how much to tell your children. What should you expose them to based on their age? I always air on the side of more information because I believe that information is power. And I want them to be empowered to make right decisions as they go through life.
So, we did not shield them completely from this election. At the very least, they knew who the major candidates were. Based on what we allowed them to see on television, they came to the conclusion that Donald Trump is not a nice person and says mean things.
What I was not prepared to do this morning was to explain to them that this hate-filled bully who says mean things could win the election. That enough people in this country liked him and voted for him, so he won.
When he got the news this morning, my son cried. He told his sister later at breakfast. "I'm sorry to tell you this Gabby, but DT is the president now." To which she responded "I don't want him to be president. He's not nice!" We comforted them both and reminded them that we love them and their lives would still be the same. They were laughing and having fun 5 minutes later, like children should.
While my faith in humanity has been significantly dented, I still have hope. I pray that when they are older, my children (6 and 4 yrs old), will have been too young to remember this dark time in our nation's history. Until then, as parents it is our job to continue to help shape their world and do our best to raise intelligent, kind-hearted, loving citizens who will work towards the betterment of humanity.
Here are a few heartfelt tips that I feel will help in the coming days, weeks and months as we move into these choppy waters:
1)Turn off the TV- This campaign has dominated our country's attention and conversation for long enough. Take back your time, energy and focus. Set the tone that YOU want in your home. Upbeat music, fun and games will help lift the mood as we sort through our feelings and help our children move on with their lives.
2) Focus on the positive - Remind your children how they are fearfully and wonderfully made. Remind them that God has a purpose for their life and no one can deter them from that except themselves. Reinforce that as parents, you are there to protect them and to help them reach their potential. And no matter what happens in the world, your love never changes. You will always love them and do your best to be there for them.
3) Get involved - Now more than ever, is a good time to restore faith in humanity. Getting involved and volunteering is a good way to expose children to the goodness of mankind. Not only will they see other people helping each other, but by letting them get involved, they will be empowered to also help. This teaches them that they can make a difference. Yes, even their tiny little hands can change the world for the better and they have a stake in it all.
4) Encourage and create diverse experiences - Resist the temptation to retreat to your corner of life and put up a wall of protection. Instead, we should expose ourselves and our children to other diverse (and positive) perspectives. Check your local papers and publications for culturally diverse events where you can sample music, food and customs of other countries and cultures. This helps reinforce that though people may look different, we are all actually more alike than we are different.
5) Don't totally tune out - Although this election was a complete failure of all that is decent, we must still do our civic duty. We owe it to ourselves, our families and communities to do what is within our power to change the world for the better. Write your congressmen, attend local government meetings, educate yourself on issues that impact you, your family, your community and the world. Then mobilize when you can and make sure your voice is heard.
6) Continue your spiritual walk - Don't lose faith! Continue to pray, read your bible, go to church, walk in love and openly worship and praise God! This is the foundation that reinforces for them that "though weeping may endure for the night, joy comes in the morning." That good overcomes evil and love always wins. Our children can perceive when we lose heart, so we must continue our walk. Not only for them, but for ourselves. God is our Father and so He wants the same for us as we do for our own.
In the coming days, weeks and months, take these steps and keep the faith, beloved. We are children of the most-high God and He will never leave us nor forsake us! This is the faith and hope that we have and CANNOT lose.