It's the morning after Election Day, Donald Trump is the U.S. president-elect, and as President Obama promised, the sun has indeed risen.
But in the wake of many controversial and vitriolic soundbites from the campaigns over the past year, parents all across America and all over social media are genuinely asking, "What do I say to my kids this morning?"
In the wee hours after the results became clear, many of us asked ourselves, who are we and how are we going to get through this, where's the grace going to come from? Where is the understanding, where is the empathy going to come from?
These answers are going to have to come from ordinary people like you.
The way to begin is to come from a place of truth, humbleness, and love. Tell your children how you feel.
It's healthy to, in an age-appropriate and gentle way; let your children know how you are affected by this news.
- Teach them about how government works. We have a system of checks and balances so that not even the president can effect big change alone.
- Look for your values. Go with them to read about the love and acceptance and support that people are already showing.
- Spread your own message of love. Get involved in telling everyone you know why your family stands strong in its values of inclusion.
- Don't lie. You can only tell your child that everything is going to be OK if you believe that may be true.
- Remind girls who were excited at the prospect of a first female president that the fight is not over. Remind girls that people fought from 1848 until 1920 to get women the right to vote in this country, so this delay is just that: a delay, not an end.
Parents can say, I wish that we already had a woman president, but we are not done fighting to have that happen. Let's think about what we can do to make it happen as soon as possible.
No matter how upset parents might be today about election results, this can be a moment to model resilience for their children.
Tell them that you're proud that they're grappling with these issues. Whatever answers you don't have right now, you'll find them together.