I received a plea for help from my niece this morning. She’s the mother of a pre-school child who is very upset about the new president-elect. My phone beeped when the text came in.
“Aunt Vodka, I need a teacher’s perspective. While I’ve tried very hard to keep my opinions about Donald Trump silent and not scare him, Hayden keeps saying he’s scared and he does not like him. I’m actually at a loss for words of comfort in this whole situation. Help!”
I stared at the phone and thought about the conversation I had with my class the day after the election. Many of them came into school crying and fearful. After five or so kids came in to the room distraught, I knew I had to have a class meeting. To keep this in perspective, our class is comprised of many students from other countries who have come to our university to study, and also children of the very professors who work there. We have quite a diverse community! I looked at the sea of tearful and fearful faces, and sat them on the carpet. I took a deep breath, and spoke from an authentic heart and mind.
“Boys and girls, today we DO have a new president. We, our country, elected him. This is what is wonderful about the country we live in- we are FREE to vote for whomever we choose. No one tells us who to vote for, or tells us who is going to run our country. WE vote. Frankly, boys and girls, it’s our job to vote. Always remember that.
I know you are worried about some of the things you’ve heard that he said, and I want to talk to you about that. When we have elections, people say and do things they don’t really mean because they want very badly to win that election. They think they are the best person for the job, so they sometimes say and do things they don’t really mean. Everyone does that, unfortunately. Even President Obama said a few things he didn’t really mean. I remember when he said he didn’t like Mrs. Clinton, but then he changed his mind.
So... some of you think he doesn’t like children. Well, guess what? He has children of his own! He even has a child not too much older than YOU! He loves all his children, and I know he will love all of the children in our country."
As this point they looked SHOCKED when I told them about his children. I then glanced at the children from the other countries who had been voicing their fears.
“And guess what? Mr. Trump’s WIFE is from another country! He loves her very much, and would never make HER leave! So, please don’t worry, I am sure he will not make all of you leave, either.
“Our other job, as citizens of this country, is to respect the position of president and respect the choice that our country made. Because really, no matter who I voted for or who your parents voted for, we all put Mr. Trump in office. One way or another.
“Now, we all have our own jobs in here! Mr. Trump’s job is to be president, but OUR job is to be kind to each other, treat each other with respect and LEARN TO READ! Now, who’s with me?”
“WE ARE!!!” They all shouted as they jumped up and started chanting! At this point, I lost what little control I had and decided it was a pretty great time for a Dance Party.
Thank you, GoNoodle, for helping this teacher give these children something to dance for….