Not unlike a day last year following George Floyd’s death at the hands of the police, I stood by the kitchen island and played a seven minute video showing what happened in the nation’s Capitol yesterday. All three of my children watched in horror as men and women scaled walls, broke windows, defiled offices and made off with podiums. I played the video and restrained myself from commenting. The horror on my childrens’ faces was hard to watch.
A few minutes after they were done watching and drinking their morning beverage, I explained what happened. I hoped my voice was matter of fact. I told that that our current President was having a hard time coming to terms with his losing the election and he was encouraging his supporters to protest. Instead of protesting peacefully, they broke into a building where our elected representatives were gathered to declare our next President and Vice President. They vandalized everything they saw. They tore down nameplates and defiled offices.
After the immediate outrage was past, I explained to them why I felt they had to see the video. I told them this is what happens when you do not learn to lose gracefully. This is what happens when bullies grow up and assume positions of power. Mostly, I told them I wanted them to hear from me about what happened at the Capitol on Jan 6th 2021 because they will hear other versions of it on the school bus, at school, sometimes, from teachers and other authority figures. These narratives will be colored by the views of the people spouting them. This will well be something they will share with their progeny some day.
It was a short conversation. It was also a very hard one. I realized this would set the tone for the kinds of conversations we will have as mother and daughters over the next few years. Not all of them will involve anarchy or bloodshed. Some of them may. As we face a tumultuous two weeks before we have a new administration sworn in, I pray that this will be the last of these conversations I will have awhile. Yet, my instinct tells me this is just the beginning.
As someone who grew up with no awareness or knowledge of the political process, this is new territory for me.
So, fellow parents and caregivers, tell me, how are you handling politics and divisive topics in your home? Are you laying it out? Are you being protective? Are you coloring what you share with your ideology? Do share.