3 Post-Election Lessons for Kids of ALL Ages
I find myself going back to the sandbox, back to Kindergarten, to find guidance.
No matter how prepared I tried to be, election day had me in a total funk. The conflicted energy was palpable everywhere. I was wandering through work, through household stuff, through the yard… wandering.
I’m neither a republican nor democrat. Libertarians typically get my vote, although even Johnson wasn’t fitting the bill for a “whole candidate” that I could back with a clean conscience. Not voting seemed (dare I say it?) almost responsible. After all, if I was standing at a buffet of rotten food, I would have walked away, waited for the next meal if I had to, right?
I know I wasn’t alone, standing in my polling place, undecided, yet starving for a good option. I truly wanted to make a good, sound choice.
Lesson 1 – Contempt for Politics Not for Politicians
A bit during the election, but definitely after, I asked more than a few people to “be kind” and to “stop name calling.” I reminded a few others that hate isn’t part of their makeup, so please, for the love of everything, stop hating every voter who elected the next president. Just stop hating. Period.
Just before the election, Jeff Deist spoke at a Mises Institute event advising us to move our contempt for the politicians to contempt for politics. As much as many people ache to blame and shame a person, a group of persons, or a whole party for the uprising of fear they’re experiencing, it’s ultimately a system that requires change. There isn’t an elusive “they” either. WE are it. WE the people.
In Deist’s talk, he also reminded us that we all have the keen ability to “organize human affairs without the state.” It begins with family (however we define that.) This had me scratching my chin with a smile. Further evidence that we go back to the sandbox.
Lesson 2 – Dying to Make a Difference
On the morning post-election, I met with a friend I hadn’t seen in years. She’s an inspiration. Always with a bright smile and willingness to help with her whole heart. When she said that she was in pain, I assumed it was from the MS she’d been gracefully enduring for years.
No. Cancer. Late stage. No treatment.
We didn’t speak about the election. We caught up on life and discussed (rather joyously) the arrangements being made for her impending death and what all this meant to her. She excitedly described her tombstone with the ornately carved angel that she’ll leave for those who are still on this earth. She said, “I’m already two toes in heaven! I’m having a blast unloading my bags and making all the difference I can before I leave this place for a better one! I’m so excited about your work. I want to know how I can help YOU!”
It took my breath away. I was beyond inspired. There was no arguing with the energy of acceptance she felt. We spent our time talking about our families and how we might move Julz of Life further into the world, helping parents one habit at a time.
This beautiful woman with borrowed time was ecstatic about the hand she was dealt because it meant she could say goodbye and make her differences NOW.
Blown away. She’s taken the news “there’s nothing we can do to save you” and responded back with “then I’ll help with all I am and all I have until I have no breath” while rolling up her sleeves to dig in.
So, what’s stopping us?
Lesson 3– Make the Good Choice to Be the Change
During the last days of this uprising of an election, I was finishing up the Julz of Life Challenge – 21 Days to EVERYONE Contributing Around the House. (Pop on to have a look. It’s free.)
The challenge wasn’t about bouncing quarters on taught beds, furniture that would pass a white glove test or kids who snap to attention at a VonTrapp family whistle. It was about walking into a room, seeing that something could be better, more efficient, cleaner, and then making it happen. It was about contributing and seeing the difference one action could make. Empowering them to do things they might not have otherwise thought they were capable of doing.
On the 20th day, my kids helped me with the video. The assignment that day was to ponder “The Big Picture of Contribution.” During our Family Summit, I asked them:
- How does contributing at home affect your life when you’re away from home (at school, at a friend’s house, at activities, parties, etc.?)
- How does contributing at home affect the way you think or feel?
Their answers were not surprising, but certainly comforting to me.
“I feel more grateful. If someone does one of my tasks, I know what it takes to do it, so I’m grateful.”
At school and out in the community, they find themselves stepping in to help others wherever they can. Holding a door, cleaning a mess they didn’t make, standing up for others, finding solutions where problems existed, “It makes me feel proud.”
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
True, the days since the election have been fraught with fear, anger, hate, misinformation, and dismay. My husband and I talked openly to the kids about what they’d seen and heard at school. There were a few students who were crying, fearful. A few were worried that they’d be sent away due to their race. And a few were actually plotting (they said “in jest”) to form a terrorist group to take out Trump. Wow.
But there have also been many comforters coming out of the woodwork everywhere. Sound reasoning, facts about what’s possible, the logical action for moving forward with peaceful hearts and helpful hands that can truly do amazing things.
At school drop-off, I used to hang my head out the window and yell to my high school freshman, “MAKE GOOD CHOICES!” She’d smile and with an eye-roll, blow me a kiss.
Each day this week, I’ve hugged both of my daughters and gently said, “be the change. I love you.”
They will. We will.
Julie Ford is a certified life coach, speaker, trainer, and author of Creating Time and Energy. Individuals hire her to trade their “badges of busy” for intentionally full lives. Organizations hire her to attract, train, and retain our next generation of leaders, the Millennials.
Based on the foundation that when things are running smoothly at home, amazing things can happen at work, Julie uses one-on-one and group coaching to help her clients to define what matters most in their lives and to realize what is and isn’t working. Collaboratively, they move through a customized plan to implement habits that serve rather than sabotage their intentions. Her clients find more joy and less chaos in every stage of work and home one habit at a time.
Need a tip for reducing the “crazy busy” in YOUR life? ASK Julie!
Leave a question in the comments or just talk with her.