This morning I took my nearly 6 year old son aside and said, “Today history will be made! We’re electing a new President for our country!”
“What will he do?” he asked me innocently.
“SHE will try to make our country safer and more prosperous. She will make sure that all human lives are valued equally. She is going to try and make sure that we remember we are a nation united.”
“Oh that sounds good,” he said.
“It IS good. But first we have to elect her.”
“What means ‘elect,'” he asked.
“Well,” I said. “There are two people in the running for President. One is an old man with outdated ideas who isn’t interested in making our country better. He says mean and hurtful things and has some very bad ideas about how our country should be run. And the lady, Mrs Clinton, has a few issues, too. No one is perfect. But she wants to make things better, and I think she can do it. So I am hoping she will win.”
I could see him taking it all in, trying to understand it. He looked to me and said, “But what if the bad man wins? Are we all going to die?” Side note: my kids all think that anything bad that happens mean they will die… it’s getting to be an issue.
I looked at him. “No, we’re not going to die. But there will be some people who get hurt. And I don’t think it will be good for our country’s place in the world.”
Again, he was thoughtful. “But why would people want the Bad Man to win then? If he is bad, then he shouldn’t be winning.”
“Here’s the thing about democracy, kiddo… not everyone thinks he’s a Bad Man. Some people think that Mrs Clinton is a Bad Lady.”
“Well I believe YOU, mommy! If you say he’s a Bad Man, then I believe you.”
I took a deep breath.
“Listen, kiddo… we all make decisions based on our own personal values, experiences and hopes. The people who want Mr Trump for President aren’t bad people. They are doing what they think is right. We all want our country to prosper and be the best. But we all have different beliefs about what makes a country great.”
I could tell he was starting to lose interest in the conversation then, so I tried to bring it all home.
“It’s like when I make you try new food. You don’t want to try it, and you get really mad at me because you don’t think you should have to. And then daddy gives you Cheetos, and you tell me you like daddy more than you like me. Even though I’m trying to help you and make your life better, you just want to eat the Cheetos. So if you had to vote for which parent you want to feed you, you’d vote for daddy, right? Even though feeding you Cheetos isn’t really the best thing for you.”
He nodded vigorously. Food he understands. I realize that the concepts I’m describing may be too big for him right now.
“Today is a big day. I hope we are going to elect our first female President. It would be a great thing to be part of something so big. But if Mr Trump wins, we will have to work hard to ensure that our country remains strong and united. I just wanted you to know that today is a big day, no matter what.”
A moment of silence and then, “Are we going to see Trolls today?”
You betcha kiddo.