I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but we’re living in disturbing times. Black men, women and children are being killed at an alarming rate by men in uniform, those who stand up for justice and equality are deemed “alt-left” America-haters and unpatriotic and a reality TV star is our nation’s 45th president.
I believe the latter of these three issues agitates and encourages the two former, so when a podcast host recently asked me what I was teaching my daughter about President Donald Trump, I was happy to provide an honest answer.
“Nothing. I’m teaching my daughter nothing about Donald Trump.”
The first question you’re asking (I know) is “how can you not teach your daughter about the current sitting president of the United States? That’s an important part of American history she needs to know about! What is her dumb ass going to say in the first grade when asked who our nation’s president is?” And to you I reply: she will say Donald Trump is our nation’s 45th president. And it will end there.
What I will teach my daughter about is politics, democracy, power, humanity, social injustice, freedom, liberty and reform. You see, President Donald Trump knows nothing of these concepts, so the conversations can easily remain mutually exclusive.
When I was 6 years old (in 1992) as my daughter is now, I initially knew nothing about Presidents George H. W. Bush or Bill Clinton ― only their names. But after Bill Clinton was sworn into office I saw a successful, competent woman standing next to him which sparked my interest in political and social affairs. She was a woman who I came to learn had been a board chairman and the first woman ever to sit on Walmart’s Corporate Board of Directors. I didn’t look like her, but she resonated with me because she was a woman I could aspire to be.
In comparison, my daughter has Melania Trump.
For that, I feel sorry for her.
So honestly, as it should be, it will be up to me to teach my daughter about political and social decency. I could teach her when an American citizen peacefully protests police brutality against people of color, he shouldn’t be called a “son of a bitch.” Or when people are dying due to natural disasters against their control, they shouldn’t be chastised for disrupting the nation’s economy. Or that the murdering of an LGBTQ American citizen shouldn’t be a joke, and citizens shouldn’t fear that a nuclear war with another country depends on whether their president received enough retweets that morning.
I could teach her all those things and more, but I won’t. My point simply is this: we parents can choose to sigh and scoff at every Trump blooper on the morning news, or we can internalize our angst and use the countless moments he’ll give us for the next three years as coachable moments. Let’s teach our children nothing about Donald Trump, but everything about the process which got him elected, the world we live in and what our nation is supposed to stand for, so their generation doesn’t make the same dumb ass mistake.