My head was spinning at 12:30 a.m. when I knew the unexpected would happen. The last thing I typed before I went to bed around 2:00 a.m. was the first thing I would say to my 11-year-old son and my 8-year-old daughter when they awoke:
WE are not Trump. WE do not believe or do what he does. WE are good people who help others.
Simple words. Simple sentences. I hugged them tightly and whispered in their ears.
And when they went off to school, I told them what I always tell them:
Be bold and be kind.
My daughter’s flamenco teacher wrote that even though she didn’t feel like dancing yesterday, she challenged herself “to focus on one movement at a time.”
Those of us who are directly responsible for teaching or raising children and young adults need to follow this advice. We need to show the kids and teens looking to us for some insight that we might not have that . . . we keep going, keep doing what we’ve always done, one movement at time.
While social media has birthed its own ugly hashtags and while I’ve unfollowed a few friends on Facebook, I also found many other friends on social media reminding me I’m doing the right thing.
I’m disappointed but not distraught. I’m angry but not wrathful. I’m uneasy with what happens next—but I won’t become disillusioned or complacent.
I cannot let my children see me lose hope. I cannot let myself lose hope.
I will continue to surround my children with people who do not think and act like Donald Trump.
But I’ll make sure my children know the people who do act and think like Trump exist in the world—but they are not our world.
I know children and teens who might have bigger worries about deportation or violence. All I could guarantee to my students, whose minds were certainly on this, was . . . here, you will always have a safe space.
That seemed to make a difference yesterday. In class, we did what we always do: think, write, converse, and listen to each other. And we joked and laughed.
With my children, I will take the same precautions I’ve always taken. And I will take them on the same car rides and trips, and we will take turns selecting music, and we will have the same conversations and disagreements.
Yesterday, my son and daughter still giggled.
This morning, because I start work late, we’re arguing about what we’ll do for breakfast.
And I said what I always say when I ask them where we should eat: “I always get two different answers! You never agree!”
My children are doing what they always do—thankfully.
And I will do what I’ve always done. I will help them deliver on the promise I whispered into their tiny ears minutes after they were born:
“Welcome to the world, little one. Here you will use your intellect to help lots and lots of people.”
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