“Instead of running away, we work harder. Instead of fighting, we peace harder. Instead of fighting hate with hate, we…love harder.” ~ Waylon Lewis
Want to know what I am passionate about?
I am passionate about my children’s future.
Even this morning.
Even after only a few hours of sleep.
Even facing the prospect of our new President-Elect.
I have only ever wanted two things for my kids: for them to be kind and for them to be happy.
And now we have a President-Elect who is modeling anything but kindness.
And to say it’s putting a serious damper on my happiness is an understatement—which sadly, impacts my children’s happiness.
No matter how much I try to prevent that from happening.
Like every other mother, I have tried to provide a safe, loving environment for my kids to grow up in.
A place where they can express their emotions.
A place where they can be themselves.
A soft place to land.
And I have worked hard to make sure they have the opportunities they need to become who they want to be.
When I felt like they needed a different schooling option, I studied, and searched, and visited until I finally found just the right place for them.
A school where the bar would be raised.
Where they would be challenged.
Where they would be seen as individuals and encouraged to be the best they could be—and still be themselves.
When they were both settled into their new school, I could feel my entire being relax.
Because I knew they were where they were supposed to be.
And I think they felt it as much as I did.
They became part of another family that protected them and guided them, just as their father and I have.
In our suburban world, our village of friends and family are crucial.
Since their dad travels for work pretty much every week, my kids and I rely on our village to help us, not only with the “little things” like carpooling to dance class and swimming, but also to give them the additional adult attention they might need if I am not there in an important moment.
Or even a small moment.
Our cul-de-sac. Our neighborhood. Our friends and family. There are always people I can call at the drop of a hat who will jump in and help whenever I need help.
And their school is just an extension of that village.
This morning, I was worried about sending my kids off to school.
My teenager is overwhelmed with some make-up work she is trying to get done. But she is also highly sensitive, and surely absorbing some of my sad, anxious energy over our new President-Elect.
And my nine-year-old son has been concerned throughout this entire election year that one of his friends will be deported back to Mexico.
So I knew they might be feeling as fragile as I felt this morning.
Not wanting to put too much of my own overwhelm and sadness onto them, I kept our conversation about the election results short and sweet.
My son asked me who won, and I said gently and sadly, “Hate and fear.”
And then, without missing a beat, I followed that up with, “So you know what that means?”
He looked at me, with a worried expression on his face.
I said, “That just means that we need to love harder. And peace harder.”
(Thank you, Waylon Lewis, for posting that little gem right before I had to have this conversation.)
My son looked a little relieved as he hugged me before heading off to school.
And I felt a tiny bit of relief as well.
For just a moment, at least.
Because this was not a Republican/Democrat issue to me.
This was about someone showing the world his fear through the hate he spewed.
And I get that the people who voted for him are just afraid too.
They are afraid of what they don’t know.
They are afraid of other cultures, other religions and strong women.
They are afraid there is not “enough” in this world to go around.
That what is theirs might be taken away.
And they don’t know how to feel that fear, let alone manage it in a mature way.
So it shows up as hate.
Last night, I closed my tired eyes moments before the election results came in—and do you know what woke me up only 30 minutes later?
Someone decided to celebrate all that fear and hatred that has been on display for months now.
And my stomach turned when I realized what the fireworks were celebrating.
But I will not give up being passionate about my children’s future.
I. Will. Not.
They might not have the role model of a leader that I wished for them to have for the next four years.
But they have been lucky enough to have had an amazing leader for the past eight years.
And once I become a little less numb, I will remind them that all we can do is love harder and peace harder.
And I will remind them of that over, and over, and over again.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Author: Christy Williams
Image: Flickr/Lance Shields
Editor: Travis May