Since election night, many parents are asking each other, “What do we tell the kids about the upcoming change in government?” No matter your political party, or who you voted for, we can’t hold at bay social media, and it is clear that parents in New Jersey, where Chris Christie who ran for President on the GOP ticket governs, might feel the need to address our country’s values, accountability, and living in a diverse society where we all stand as equal to each other. Rioting last week has caught the attention of all major cities, and all citizens, and some people truly fear the near future when the regime changes hands. How do we help our children as parents feel safe and secure, while we ourselves feel unsure about things too?
– We can tell them that peace between people, no matter race, creed, color or religion matters. Our constitution was intended to nurture and insure a peaceful transition of power. It is at the very heart of our democratic nation.
– We can discuss the importance of the work of Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus of Nazareth, and Maya Angelou, and how they represented all that has potential to live inside of all of us: love, tolerance, and acceptance of every American.
– We can teach them, or reteach them if necessary the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you; treat people as you would want to be treated. Put yourself in another’s shoes and use compassion to gain understanding and acceptance.
– We can let them know our views on racism, hatred for reasons of color or religion, and how to take on the role of peacemaker; to stand up for themselves, and others who are being unduly persecuted by another.
– We can share with them our experiences and how they helped us grow stronger mentally and emotionally when our choices involved taking care of others’ feelings before we thought about our own.
– We can share a documentary about an honorable icon in history, other cultural traditions and styles of living, the importance of family supporting each other, or ordinary heroes, people who stood up and did the right thing, no matter what!