Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Letter to My Boys About Our Values

Dear Boys,

Last night your dad and I fell asleep on the couch trying to stay up to see the results of our 2016 presidential election.  This is the first election where you've been so aware of what is going on.  You've seen the faces both real and cartoon of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton plastered all over the TV and magazine covers for months.  You've listened carefully and watched us carefully to try and understand where we stand, why we stand there, and where that leaves you.  There is so much you don't understand and won't understand for years and years.  And there is a lot we were unable to explain to you, so unfortunately, due to my own inadequacies, I often reduced it to "Donald Trump is a bad guy.  We don't like him."

But now he's your president.  And that position carries with it high esteem.  He is someone you should respect and look up to.  He is the leader of our country and the keeper of our country's values.

But I told you he was a bad guy, and so that must seem a little scary to you.  I'm sorry.  I shouldn't have scared you like that, and I wouldn't have scared you like that had I thought for one moment that it was possible that he would be elected president.  To you, a bad guy should be taken out with nerf bullets, captured, arrested, locked up, not standing before you in a position of power and esteem.  How confusing this all must be to you at eight and five!

But you will move on.  Your day will fill with kickball games and farts, running and playing and climbing and laughing.  Your cartoon watching won't be interrupted by political commercials anymore and you will move on.  So will we.

But there is something I want you to know about our values because our values are what we put on the line here during this election.  And these are values that we share as a family, Mommy and Daddy, Grandmas and Grandpas, regardless of how we voted or how it all turned out.

Love one another.  Not-- Love those who are just like you.  Love one another.  Regardless of skin color, nationality, gender, race, sexual preference, ability level or political standing--love one another.  It is not loving to stereotype entire groups of people based on their religious backgrounds or their skin color.  It is not loving to treat women as sexual objects to be taken and groped.  It is not loving to pick on anyone or leave anyone out.  And if you hear someone who is doing that, reject IT.  But not THEM.

And that is the mistake I made with you during this election.  Do not reject President Trump, but if he espouses hateful speech and discrimination, reject THAT.

It is hard for me to accept the results of this election because I have not seen a man who represents me and my values.  I have not seen a man who respects me or values me.  I have not seen a man of wisdom, kindness and humility--three of the characteristics I value most in a leader.  I have seen only a narcissist.  But now he stands before me as president-elect, chosen without a doubt by a majority of my countrymen as the man they want to lead us, represent us, fight for us.  It makes me feel incredibly disconnected from my own people.  It makes me feel like I missed something.

And maybe I did.

So, I go back to that core value.  Love one another, which also means, love Donald Trump.  Love him.  Don't love his speech if it's filled with intolerance and misogyny.  But always Love him.

This morning when I didn't know what to say, I told you to pray for him.  And Charlie when you came down for breakfast and you told us,"While I was going to the bathroom, I prayed that Donald Trump would say nice things,"--that was perfect.

And that will be my prayer now too:

Lord, please help President Trump to say nice things.  My children are listening.  Let them hear love. And Lord, please help me to say nice things.  My children are listening.  Let them hear love. And Lord, please help my children to say nice things.  Let them respect their elders and show kindness to all.  But Lord, if they hear racism, sexism, and discrimination, help them to put down their nerf guns and fight with their words and their voices.

Grant them the serenity to accept the things they cannot change,
The strength to change the things they can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.