We are parenting in difficult times. We have been for awhile, actually. We've always talked to our kids about hard things - from Ferguson to Orlando, from hate speech to homophobia, politics and beyond. We've done this because we want our kids to hear the news from us so that we can answer their questions, help them understand world events, and talk to them about our deeply held values.
We believe that people are more important than things. We believe in respect and compassion. We believe in standing up for others. We believe it is important to think critically and tell the truth. Just to name a few.
Throughout the months leading up to the election, we reminded the kids of those values when Donald Trump mocked a disabled reporter, when he called Mexicans rapists, when he was caught on tape saying that it was acceptable to grab women by the pussy. As the xenophobic, homophobic, racist and misogynistic rhetoric continued, we returned to themes of respect for others and honesty.
But, in the end, the candidate who was most disrespectful and hateful won and is now filling his cabinet with people who wear their racism and xenophobia like badges of honor and believe that families like mine are not worthy of protection (or simply not worthy at all).
For 15 years, we taught our kids to be respectful. We talked about the high road and the greater good. We talked about the importance of working towards justice. This was our work - to give our kids a moral compass. Now, our country seems to have lost its own. Hate and fear won and we have to explain that to our kids which is not a simple thing.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." I hold tightly to that belief but it is an abstract concept and not easily grasped by our children who are desperately trying to make sense of the world. Those words may give us hope for the future but they do not prepare us for the present where hates crimes have increased dramatically since the election.
When Miguel was a baby, he had a little onesie that said Question Authority and we have often joked that it was somehow prophetic but it also might just be the next lesson. Pay close attention. Speak up. Question authority.