On my walk to school with Peyton, he asked me if I had studied the circulatory system and the digestive system. I said that I had and he said, “Great! I have a quiz for you.” I am happy to report that I did well on my quiz but the last question really made me think. Peyton said, “Last question, mom. Who do you think will more likely cause World War III? Hillary or Trump?” And then he said, “I am a no vote, mom.”
Even our little ones are feeling the anxiety that we all feel around this election. Peyton said that in his social skills class, the teacher is having a hard time redirecting the children away from politics! I believe that the children are telling us that they need to process what they are hearing at home, in school and on TV. They are asking us to put our big girl panties on and give them better words, better skills for handling differences. I think we have a great opportunity to teach our children some valuable lessons that I know I did not receive in my childhood home.
We can identify with our children’s anxiety in a way that shows love for people who vote for Trump and people who vote for Hillary. I would say something like, “Peyton, good, loving, faithful, and committed Christians are voting for Donald Trump. At the same time, good, loving, faithful and committed Christians are voting for Hillary Clinton.” There is a hard choice to be made and good people fall on either side but we have to make a choice. We have to cast our vote because we have rights and freedoms in our country that other countries don’t enjoy. We seek God in our vote first and we vote in a way that is true to who God created us to be. During this time, we pray for both candidates and then we pray for whoever is President. Ultimately, though, God is with us no matter what and we have LOTS of bible stories that prove that no matter who is “KING,” God is with us. One thing I stressed to both my kids is that we never put down anyone for sharing their opinion on the candidates. We always show love because God is love.
By showing that good people are on either side of the vote, we have already leveled the playing field and stopped demonizing the “other” which relieves a lot of anxiety. If they are lead to believe that the “other” is horrible, ignorant, corrupt, etc, then all who vote for _______________ are horrible, ignorant, corrupt, etc. If ____________ then wins, we have just planted fear in our children’s minds. Let’s not do that!
We all want more for our children. We don’t want them to live in fear. We don’t want them to think other people are evil just because they are different. We have a great opportunity in the next few weeks to give our children kind and loving words to use, to show that people who vote for the “other” are God’s children too. We can begin to teach our children how to talk about hard subjects where people disagree with each other. In our homes, we can talk about listening to others. We can talk about how to use our words in a loving way like saying, “I am very uncomfortable with talking about this. Can we change the subject!” We can also teach how to engage in conversation by asking good questions which as they get older will help them understand better where the person they are talking to is coming from with their statements. If we don’t model this for our children, we will continue the cycle of demonizing those who think differently from us.
I am having a hard time with political conversations as an adult, but I am committed to making a difference in my children’s life. No matter who wins this election, my family serves the God of all creation, the God who created Donald and who created Hillary. My God is big enough to work through the life of our next President.