It’s inauguration day and the heated emotions that had only just begun to cool off are once again fired up as most Americans are either enthusiastically hopeful or anxiously biting their nails. This is not the easiest post to write. I’m not a particularly political person, nor am I accustom to sharing this type of personal information, but in the spirit of being ‘real’ I thought I’d share a major mommy fail of mine recently to help remind us all, including (and perhaps, especially) myself, to be kind and mindful of the words we say.
My story goes back a couple of months to the week of the election when my first grade daughter came home and announced at our weekly dinner with my in-laws that her classmate’s mom said Hillary Clinton is a “baby killer”! I was a very much caught off guard in the moment and didn’t know quite how to respond. I could have just brushed it off as “crazy things kids say”, but after a lot of thought I decided that letting those words simmer in the brain of my daughter, a thinker and worrier, was a bad idea. Later that night I took the time to sit down and discuss what her classmate had said, what he likely had heard, and what it meant. Let me tell you, discussing abortion with my then-6-year-old was not a fun or easy conversation to have! I danced around the subject at first, explaining that Hillary Clinton was not walking around killing babies that are already born (she was specifically concerned about her baby cousin), but rather that one of the rules she wanted to make if she became president was that mommies who were pregnant could decided if they wanted their babies to be born or not. She was not fooled by my tactics and immediately understood that that meant killing them. Without getting into too much detail, we discussed the topic a little further until she came to her own conclusions on the matter, which I applauded and let that be the moral of the conversation; That we are all entitled to form our own opinions based on our own beliefs and reserch. Though it was not a conversation I would have wished to have had, I was proud of the way I had handled it.
Fast forward to this weeks family dinner (why do all of these things have to happen at family dinners?) when we sat around the table lightheartedly discussing the upcoming inauguration. I turned to Sassafras and asked if she knew who the new president was going to be, hoping to be impressed that she was well enough informed to spout off the correct name. She responded confidently with “Donald Trump” and then quickly added “He kills people”! I was MORTIFIED! How could MY daughter just have uttered such a terrible accusation? I went from sitting high and mighty on my throne of how I had handled the situation just a few months prior, to being THAT mom! I can assure you that neither my husband nor myself have ever said those words or anything to imply that that statement is true, but at a whopping 4 years of age we are her only source of information. Where did we go wrong??? After much thought, I have come to a place where I must admit that while we have not gone so far as to make false accusations, there has been an unnecessary amount of negative talk regarding Donald Trump and his policies in our household and especially in front of our children. If Mommy and Daddy think Donald Trump is such a terrible person, than he must be doing terrible things! And when you are a child, your mind goes to the most terrible thing you can think of… killing people. We took the time to correct her and tell her that he has not killed anyone and that he is our new president so whether or not we agree with him, we need to be respectful of him while still standing up for the things we believe in.
I know we are all at varying degrees on the spectrum of where we stand in support or opposition of the new president, but the point I am trying to make, and the one I have learned the hard way, is that negativity only breeds more negativity. When we focus on the worst qualities of a person or a situation we are at risk of blowing the truth out of proportion. And the worst part about it is, the little ears, the sponges, the future of our country are the ones most negatively impacted by this false information! Let’s all take a moment to think before we speak. Is what we are saying fair? Is what we are saying truthful? Is what we are saying inline with what we claim to stand for?