While out for dinner this evening in Middleton we sat in a diner next to a young couple with a cute brown-haired girl. Given the close seating arrangements it was not hard to strike up a conversation. Following up on their ongoing conversation about the elections I happened to inquire what does a parent do in this time of bombast, nasty comments, and meanness coming from the Donald Trump White House? How does a parent undertake their role in this time where civility is so lacking?
I was expecting there would be words about turning the news off and limiting the time the second grader was able to be exposed to social media. Instead, I was greeted with a way of parenting that I could only dream would be more in vogue.
“We talk about what is happening. I use age appropriate ways of explanation for what is happening. She sees the fear of her classmates who are brown and come to class and express their concerns,’ said the mom.
I looked at the girl coloring a picture as their food was being prepared. Her mom was talking about images and fears concerning the kid’s classmates. No child should ever have to face such experiences. What must that girl feel when drifting off to sleep and seeing in her mind friends who cry in the classroom?
The mom explained that she wants her child to grow up and understand the political process. The girl has walked along as the family goes door-to-door for campaign literature drops. On Election Day the girl will see her parents participate as voters, and in so doing, it is their intention to inculcate the responsibility of citizenship.
I glanced at the girl diving into a large aqua colored ice-cream (Blue Moon?) and saw her smiles and glee at one of the simple pleasures in life. Childhood comes to an end for all; but there is no reason to undermine and clutter those precious years with needless hate-filled, racist, nationalistic, or xenophobic polices such as that which litters the Trump ‘list of things to do’.
As I head to the polls this Tuesday that kid and her ice-cream will be in my mind. I did not ask her name. It did not matter. She represents all the young faces of those who are not yet fully aware of the plight this nation faces, and yet they feel the effects of what we, as adults either have done—or equally bad–have allowed to happen. We have a duty this coming week to cast a ballot for change away from the horrible path we are now on in our nation.
I thanked the parents for how they are raising their child. Loving. Doting. Good communicators. Preparing a child to be a solid citizen.
The least we can do for these families is to make it so they will not have to ponder how to raise a child in a time of even more tastelessness and bombast. This era of Trump must be curtailed and shut down.
We have the power to make it so.