After one of the most contentious campaigns in the history of our country, the die was cast, the people spoke and early Wednesday morning, Hillary Clinton conceded the election to Donald Trump. No matter how you felt about the result, it is clear that our nation is witnessing history and is witnessing our democracy in action. Newspapers and news stations across the country show sequential images of election results and peaceful protests – our democracy in action!
It is our constitutional right to feel elated or dismayed. It is our constitutional right to peacefully express our feelings and opinions. As adults, most of us understand both the privileges and constraints that we must exercise at this time. Most of us are eager to move on and work together to unify our country, to seek areas of commonality, and to engage in respectful discussions regarding those issues where we disagree. Most of us will remember the words of President Obama…”This was an intramural scrimmage. We are all on the same team. We are all Americans.”
However, our desire to move forward with peace and acceptance is not an easy task. Even for adults, a large measure of maturity is required to move beyond the hurtful rhetoric and accusations. So how difficult must it be for our children to make sense of the unrest surrounding this election? As parents and teachers, it is essential that we come up strong and take the time to discuss, explain, answer questions, and support our children in their quest to make sense of it all. “Attitudes are caught not taught.” What we model at this time will be internalized by our youngsters.
Today, may I respectfully suggest that you seek out appropriate books, articles and even movies to help you explain the workings of our country, sooth your child’s emotions, answer their questions, and emphasize the values that underlie our democracy. How you support your child during this tumultuous time is a personal decision so I’m not going to suggest specific resources. Knowledge empowers, knowledge heals, knowledge opens the door to respect and acceptance. My hope is to encourage you to head to your library, bookstore or Amazon to hunt down materials that will enable you to foster knowledge, understanding, empowerment, and peace in the hearts of our children.