Forgive me for a moment while I give this election a face…
—the face of my son, Jac – who was adopted in 2004 from Guatemala.
Jac called me last week from school during his lunch. He was clearly distraught and trying to talk very softly. He asked me in his whisper voice,
“Mom, can I be deported”?
Many children at his school make the assumption that he is from Mexico, which is more common in this area than being from Guatemala — so the other children were curious if he was legal. Jac didn’t even know what that meant. And he certainly didn’t know how to respond to that question. It’s nothing we’ve ever thought to talk about before, until now.
He was so upset!
I told my beautiful, soulful little boy everything I could think of to assure him — “you are a legal citizen of the United States of America … you have nothing to worry about … we have a birth certificate listing your father and I as your parents … we have all your adoption papers!” And on and on because nothing made him feel better. The fear was real and he was emotionally connected to it.
When my children were young we adopted the nightly ritual of telling them our family ‘rules’ at bedtime. Our family rules went like this:
- You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.
- You are the boss of your own body.
- We will always be here for you no matter what.
- Treat other people the way you want them to treat you.
I have repeated these ‘rules’ thousands of times. They are not only meaningful to each of us; they are the bread and butter of our family foundation. Last week our ‘rules’ became insignificant in the face of fear. So I sought to understand what was behind the fear so I could help my children move past it.
The morning after the election I read a great article entitled, What Do We Tell The Children? By Ali Michael, Ph.D. The article gave me so much hope!
Dr. Michael said some of the most important things we can do for our kids are:
- Assure them that we will protect them – no matter what.
- Tell them that we support our president but will stand up against bigotry.
- Tell them we stand by all families regardless of their race, their religion, their sexual orientation, their gender, or their political affiliation.
- Tell our children they have a voice too – not just to win arguments but for the sake of standing up to injustice.
- Teach our children to discuss things civilly and respectfully. It’s not about winning; it’s about finding the commonalities.
One thing this election brought to light was that there is a huge swath of our population that felt underserved and likely scared for their family’s well being. I can sympathize with that.
As we move forward, I hope we will all teach our children that kindness, compassion and inclusion are the hallmarks of our greatness.
I hope we will teach our boys that women should be valued and respected and NEVER engaged against their will.
I hope as a country we nurture equality and commit to equal opportunity for everyone. My goal is for healing and compromise.
I want my children to feel loved, valued and appreciated. I want yours to feel that way too.
We are committed to building bridges! Will you join us?
What Do We Tell The Children? By Ali Michael, Ph.D.
CLICK HERE if you’d like to read the article in it’s entirety.
This is how I’ve spoken with my kids about the election. What about you? Have your kids asked about life post election? What questions did your children have for you? I’d love to hear how you handled them.
Founder of Motherland Travel