This will go down in the history books as the strangest election campaign ever. Before and now after the election, emotions are still very raw. Moving forward, there are some specific ways to help our children (and ourselves) to make sense of a difficult political event that many weren’t prepared for. I read an article in which Lizzie Post & Dan Post Senning (great-great grandchildren of the famed Etiquette Expert, Emily Post) provided some insights on keeping our civility in check.
If one’s candidate did win, then avoid rubbing it in. No one likes an ungracious winner. Children learn this “I’m the best” attitude all too quickly especially from media. Point out to them that others won’t appreciate it. Be happy for the successful outcome but sensitive to others who are taking it hard. This can be applied to the sports arena, too.
Don’t trivialize the issues…
Many people have their own reasons for voting the way they did. This needs to be respected. Cheap shots or insults only make the possibility of working toward some kind of unity virtually impossible. If one’s candidate didn’t get elected, still make the effort of sending a congratulatory email to that person. Let your children see this noble act of forbearance.
Be a good sport…
There are numerous individuals who continue to be vitriolic in their comments against Trump but like it not, he is the next President. So much energy is wasted by being spiteful. On a related issue, there was precious little that resembled a good debate in this election. It’s like we’ve lost the art of how to argue. Debating clubs are an excellent way to teach young people how to think & present a particular position. Having a respectful disagreement is an effective way to learn more about that issue from another perspective. Excessive name calling shuts down any possibility of understanding and leads to fear mongering. We can “tackle” ideas but not the person. People deserve our utmost respect. There’s nothing wrong with “agreeing to disagree”, in the end. We can still be friends, can’t we??
It’s not the end of the world
It’s just an election, folks. It was interesting to read about many professors who gave their students the day off. Why?? Dan Post Senning warns against “being overly dramatic”. He says, “Showing too much catastrophic concerns start to be out of proportion with what’s happened.” Besides, the government has many checks and balances. Trump needs to work within the law and statues just like anyone else. Generally, life is full of disappointments and our children need to know how to cope well without falling apart or losing their temper.
My own concluding thoughts are that we should be aware & grateful for the gift to VOTE. Remembrance Day is here. Let’s take a step back and contemplate the alternative that many people face living in countries run by despotic dictators. Or worse, those countries that “allow” elections but threaten the populace with violence if they actually go to the polls. Other than the tragic attack at one of the polls in California (which should never have happened), Americans were free to vote according to their conscience…a beautiful thing. The election didn’t go the way many had planned but this is how democracy works. In the end, the reason we’re able to vote in freedom is because of the supreme bravery shown by our fallen soldiers. Remind your children & teens of this fact when they pin their poppy.
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