Who We Are

Today was painful. As Americans, as humans, as parents, we were kind of ugly today.

Today hurt. Not much made sense. Today was loud. People freaked out a bit. And that’s okay. Sometimes we freak out. Sometimes things are scary, and they are uncertain and they are as devastating and disheartening as today was for a lot of people. It is okay to be worried. It is okay to have an opinion. It is not okay to fuel the hate driven fire. Both sides are guilty and we need to be better.

But it’s not all bad. Today I’m truly proud of my friends who, although are very torn up by last night’s outcome, have posted things that are not only full of conviction and disbelief but also free of hate. It isn’t always easy to express the fear and sadness without being hateful, but I’ve seen it today and I’m thankful for that. I’m not going to focus on the hate today. The hate is loud, and I refuse to let hate win.

My kids both asked me about what it means now that Trump has been elected. I told them that it means that we remain who we are and that we find our strength in that. That was the short version, partly because they asked me while we were five minutes away from our “oh shit we really need to leave” portion of our morning and partly because that is all they needed to know right then. They are little and they asked a big question and they needed an honest answer that they could understand.

So that is what they got. They got short version of a long answer, but is the truth. We remain who we are.

That’s easy for me to say, right? Those are the words of white privilege at its finest. I have two kids. Both white. Both male. Both with parents who are fortunate enough to be able to provide in abundance for them, neither of them truly wanting or needing anything. Both of them happy and healthy. So what could I possibly know?

What I know is this…

My job today was the same as it was yesterday and it is the same as it will be tomorrow. Yes, Donald Trump has a big job to do, and huge things to prove, but so do I.  And my job is unbelievably important, too.

My job is to make sure “who we are,” are hard working, respectful humans. My job is to make sure “who we are,” are open minded individuals who are respected because of what we do and how we react, not because we are owed a damn thing.

So I will continue to teach my little boys to work hard while recognizing the accomplishments of others. When they succeed, I will teach them to be proud without gloat. When they fall short, I will teach them the true value that lies in defeat.

I will continue to raise them to be the good. I will make sure that they see the hurt when they cause it and understand why we need to be better. I will make sure that they understand the pain of disappointment and the joy of pride.

I will continue to teach kindness and acceptance and the importance of forgiveness. I will continue to value their opinions not only when they align with mine, but especially when they differ from mine. I will continue to teach them how to agree and how to disagree and how to do both with integrity. They need to have their own opinions. It’s my job to teach them how to voice those without self righteousness.

I will continue to let them see emotion, the good and the bad. I will teach them that laughter is important, that jealousy ruins you and that they need to make time for fun. I will teach them to face fear, to learn how to work through obstacles, and stress the importance of not being paralyzed by either. I will continue to challenge them to think for themselves, to see other sides, to admit their faults and to love wholeheartedly. 

Today was painful, but we still have a job to do and we really need to stop being assholes. We need to be the good because we need to remember that they are watching and we need to continue teaching. At the end of today and before we start tomorrow, we need to remind ourselves that what we do matters. We need to remind ourselves of who we are and who we want our people to be.

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