As a parent, you know that you are going to have difficult conversations with your kids sometimes. I just didn’t realize that I would have to have so many in one day.
First of all, for the Trump supporters out there, do not try to defend him here. His words, many times over, were on video and audio. Do not judge other parents for letting their kids see it on TV. Fact is, we could barely get away from it. The only way for our kids to not have heard his horrible words would have been to get rid of all TV for over a year. They heard. They saw. They absorbed.
And now he’s the President-elect of the United States.
We spend so much time telling our kids not to bully. Not to name call. To work it out. To respect others despite our differences.
And now a man who has done the complete opposite of that, live and on TV for 18 months, is going to be sworn in on January 20.
Parents, we have a lot of explaining to do. It’s been a difficult 24 hours in this household, and I’m sure in many others. I am trying to do this very consciously and with a high level of awareness…..because it’s just so, so important. Here’s some of what I’m doing and saying to my kids and to myself until we move toward that level of acceptance.
Know your audience. Our kids are different ages, different abilities. What I am telling Kevin is much different than what I am telling Brian. And that is much different than what I am saying to my adult friends. I know that Brian develops anxiety over certain things, so I have to keep that in check.
We won’t always feel this way. I am explaining, in appropriate terms, that life is a series of cycles, ups and downs, happy times and times of extreme disappointment. But feelings come and go. Just because we have these intense feelings right now, they will fade.
Adults cry sometimes, and that’s ok. Yesterday Brian saw more adults cry than he has probably ever seen before. I brought it to his level–“remember the other day when Daddy told you that you couldn’t wear shorts, and you were really disappointed and cried?” That’s how this is for adults. We are really disappointed right now, and that is why we are crying. But just like he stopped crying over the shorts, we’ll stop crying too.
We are resilient. The news interviewed some people who are genuinely thinking of leaving the country. Brian asked, “Shouldn’t we move to Canada too?” I said no, why would we do that? He said, “Well Trump made fun of women and disabled people, how can you and Kevin be here with someone who makes fun of you?” I chuckled and said, “Oh honey, me and Kevin are strong, and so are you. It’s going to take a lot more than just someone making fun of us. We can handle bullies, I don’t back down from bullies.”
Our efforts were not wasted. It is always the time to do what is right. Life is full of victories and defeats. Just because you saw Mommy spend many hours volunteering for the campaign, there are no regrets. There is not one moment that was wasted–we fight for what we believe in. We just may not always win, and we lose with dignity and grace and learn from it.
We are not alone. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. It is what it is, this is the system. But the fact remains, more Americans voted for her than for him. Also, my borough/precinct and my county overwhelmingly supported her, just my state didn’t. I realize that not everyone has this, but at least for my immediate community, we are not alone.
We don’t have to be victims. This builds on the resilience point above, but we do not have to be victims. We can organize, we can create change. I think that we are about to witness a surge in political activism, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just because Trump has not given us one inkling or reassurance that he is going to improve lives for people with disabilities, that doesn’t me we lie down and take it. We will continue our fight.
It’s still not ok to bully, and we have a duty to help others. A bully won, plain and simple. That doesn’t make it ok. Sure, on many levels that validates it, but not in this household. We still do not name call. We talk things out, we ask questions. And, we help those who need our help. There’s no better time than now to jump on the Be Fearless and Be Kind campaign, to help others. Click below to find out more.
We still have our core beliefs and values. In this house, we love. We help. We advocate. We champion. We have fun. We are kind. We are inclusive. We do what is right, even if it’s not popular. We are spirited and driven and passionate about issues. No one can take that away from us.
Have faith in the good of people and carry on. We need to dig deep, we need to regroup and we need to strategize. We are very shocked and surprised to learn that so many millions of Americans supported and validated this awful behavior. A wake-up call, for sure. But we can use these feelings to propel us forward. “Focus on what we can control.” After all, there will be another election in just 2 years. We’ll be ready.