megan's blog

Monday, November 14, 2016

What I will tell my Daughters

To my daughters I didn’t really want to tell her. I woke up to feed the baby at 4am and saw the CNN update on my phone. Donald Trump had won the election and would be our 45th president. HURMPH! That’s the sound I heard inside my head when my spirit, stomach and jaw hit the floor. How did this happen? She was supposed to win. She was supposed to be the first female president. There are so many things I could say about Donald Trump and policy and the political reasons that I voted for Hilary Clinton, but that’s not what this post is about. It is about what I will tell my daughters. It is about how we will walk through the next 4 years of our lives and into the future. Nora is in Kindergarten, Lord help us all. She goes to a public school. She is surrounded by diversity, different genders, races, income levels, and religions. I like it this way. I want her to come home and ask me hard questions. Ok I don’t really like answering hard questions, but I like it in theory. During this election season, she came home and asked us who we were voting for. This seemed a tad bit intrusive, but I agreed to enter into the conversation. I asked her who she thought she would vote for if she could. She answered, “Hilary.” She liked the idea of “the girl” winning. She doesn’t understand politics or policies or what the president even does, but she knew she wanted to the girl to win. At the age of 5, all Nora sees is a person. She is a woman. She is strong. She is smart. She has a funny smile and wears business clothes. She identifies with her in some ways. I am sure she has also heard her mom talk about her and mommy’s seal of approval probably helped to sway her vote. So on Wednesday morning, I had to tell Nora and her 4-year-old sister Gracie, that Hilary didn’t win. The boy won this time. Nora said she was “mad” and just got kind of quiet. Grace likes to act silly when she doesn’t know what else to do. Her response was, “why did he win? He just wants to live in the Lighthouse!” I’m with her. Eight years ago when Barack Obama was elected president, Brandon, my new husband, came upstairs and woke me up to tell me the good news. This was the first presidential election that I was able to vote in. I, like many of my millennial brothers and sisters, liked Obama’s message of hope and change. We liked that he looked different and acted different that other candidates. He was young and full of energy, and bonus; he was African American. Double bonus; he was married to Michelle! I remember thinking; ‘this man will be president when my babies are born.’ He will be part of their history. I was hopeful that young black men would be inspired and young black women would become empowered. Maybe our country was moving in the right direction. I didn’t even care that he beat Hilary. So fast-forward to today. I felt a similar hope for women that I felt for African Americans. Maybe this was our turn. Maybe our country could be under the leadership of a women and equality in this country could take another step closer to its meaning. But we lost this one. So what will I teach my daughters (and my son)? I will teach them about Vigdis Finnbogadottir, the first woman to be elected Head of State in Iceland in 1980, or about any of the other current female presidents in countries such as Croatia, Chile, South Korea, or Switzerland. (Not that I currently know much about any of them, but I am willing to learn.) I will also tell them about Mother Teresa and maybe we will go hug Amma. I will tell them about Hilary Clinton and what she has fought for her entire political life. I hope they are inspired by her and rather than remembering this loss, they will take on the platforms of healthcare in America and education reform. Maybe they will see that we are still lacking in this country when they see progress in other countries and help to come up with good solutions. Finally, I will teach my children to respect the president of the United States of America. I will do my best to give Donald Trump the respect that he may or may not deserve. I will politely disagree when we disagree and try to give any changes he makes that affect me a chance. I reserve the right to have an opinion, but will try my best to not let my opinion get in the way of the important task I have of raising respectful human beings. Mine are little. I can protect them from most negative images and turn the TV off when the language is inappropriate. If they hear something at school and are confused, I can be the voice that guides them. When policies or actions of our government affect us negatively or make life harder for our neighbors, we can show our kids what it means to live in the Kingdom of God. Ill be honest, I am scared. I don’t know what that loose cannon is going to do. I’m bummed that my girls don’t have a new female figurehead to inspire them, but I am hopeful. This will be challenging for me as parent, and I know I will fall into negativity at times and have to ask someone for forgiveness along the way, but we will get through this. The girls might have lost this time, but in the end, I know it will make us stronger. We will just have to work harder. Susan B Anthony did. Harriet Tubman did. Dorothy Day did. We can too.


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