I’ve been reading a lot of comments lately expressing a frustration with this recent election. I mean a lot! I’m not even going to try to throw my hat into that ring. I don’t have the energy for that right now. But, I have also seen one specific question tossed around at least a handful of times. That question being along the lines of “What am I supposed to tell my children about being a bully/mean/offensive when we just elected Trump as our President?”
I have some advice here.
Teach your children to idolize and admire traits and not a person.
I have seen time and time again when some philanthropist, artist, musician, leader, etc. falters. They make a mistake and it shatters everything. People are crushed. It ruins lives. It scars people. This happens when you put a person upon a pedestal and forget that they are, indeed, a mere human who is imperfect.
I know this election has been rough. I know that it has divided people in ways that I actually didn’t really ever think possible.
As a lesson in parenthood, these questions I have seen thrown around remind me of how important it is to focus on what is an important life lesson. Every single one of us has good and bad within us. Every.Single.One. This is life and this is a reality. I hope my children grow to understand this. If you are teaching your children that a single person is so admirable that they cannot have a negative side of them, I assure you that you are setting them up for a life of disappointment. You are setting them up for broken expectations and you are not doing them justice.
So, for those of you struggling here, consider focusing on what is truly admirable. When any individual displays a trait that is admirable, focus on that. Explain the traits that you don’t admire and make sure to focus on the why for both.
Make it a constructive conversation instead of a proclamation of despair.
Your children will be better off when they witness you focusing on what is important in a rational and effective way.