My dad grew up in Honduras. As I child, I watched my father marvel at the idea that in America the police/military were the good guys. That education was free. That every four years there would be a peaceful exchange of power no matter how unpopular the President-elect.
These things absolutely amazed him. Enchanted him. I grew up being taught that these things were miracles and were not to be taken for granted.
I take these lessons into the 2016 election.
I know that right now some of you are celebrating and some of you are grieving.
Based on my Facebook feed and what I have seen from my students in the classroom, I also imagine most of you (us) are allowing this election and its unexpected results to dominate FAR too much of your mental and emotional energy.
Allow me to offer another path.
(Temporarily) Unfollow friends whose Facebook posts hurt or anger you right now. Your wounds and/or victories are fresh. Hopefully, everyone on your social media is someone you actually care about. (If not, fix that tonight) Unfollow them for awhile to protect your relationships later. Engage in respectful discourse when you are ready. When your heart can handle it. It’s good to have friends from diverse points of view. If you can’t handle theirs in a respectful way right now, just take a break. Even better, take a break from Social Media altogether.
Turn off the damn TV/phone/ipad/kindle
Check in with a trusted news source once or twice a day if that is your thing.
Then let it go.
Read a book. Write. Talk to a friend, spouse, or family member, but do not succumb to this 24 news cycle. It exists to MAKE MONEY by capturing your attention with increasingly alarming reports. It exists to scare you. To shock you.
Turn it off. Make room for more of what you love.
You don’t have to ignore what is happening…. but get involved in productive ways. If you are unhappy with the results of this election, then get involved where you see a need. Volunteer. Be kind to those who you feel need your support.
If you are happy with the results of this election, then do exactly the same thing.
Your kids are listening. They hear what you say behind closed doors and they unleash it at their classmates with a vengeance, no matter their age. If you don’t believe me…. ask any teacher this week. It’s been a tough one.
This goes for both sides, and we need to do better. Don’t use this election to scare your kids into believing something. Take the ideals you hold dear and live in a way that your kids see what matters. Don’t tell them… Show them.
Live in gratitude
It is likely that you read this from a warm, safe place. (If not, please email me ASAP) You may even be lucky enough to have people and pets around you that bring you immense joy and love.
This is not nothing. This is EVERYTHING.
Reconnect with your loved ones. It’s time. Schedule a date night with your spouse. A book club with your friends. A walk with your kids. A snuggle session with your fur baby. A quiet time with yourself. Remind yourself what you are grateful for, even as you stand up for what you believe.
I’m grateful for all of you.
Hoping you are well,