By Gloria Shepard, via her blog
Post-election, parents are wondering what the Election of Donald Trump will mean to our kids. Kids learn much more from how we are than what we say. Let’s look at ourselves.
Are you taking care of your feelings?
I want to be clear, taking care of feelings does not mean fighting, hiding, or ignoring them. It doesn’t mean drinking wine or eating chocolate to get through them (I know, this is a hard truth!!). And it doesn’t mean acting them out, posting rants on Facebook, calling anybody names, blaming people we disagree with, lecturing, boasting, or being self-righteous. Taking care of our feelings does mean slowing down to FEEL them. To allow them. To be with our vulnerable selves. For lots of us, this includes talking with a helpful friend, a counselor, a support group, or another trusted helper, because we can’t always do it alone (and we don’t need to!).
When we do this, we set an important example for our children. We show them that it is okay to have even big feelings. I am struck by the parallel between our experience of this election and our teens’ experience of getting into college. ‘This is not the end of the world,’ we tell them when they don’t get into their first choice college, ‘it’s going to be okay.’ Let’s set an example of how to handle deep upsets by showing up for ourselves (and each other) in a loving way.
Are you staying in the present?
Someone told me at about 7 am on November 9, ‘I can’t believe Donald Trump is president.’ He isn’t! We are still in November, and most of us don’t even know what we’re having for dinner, let alone what will be happening in January. Let’s take things one step at a time. This is the time for feeling, not projecting ourselves into the future and the past, both of which are out of our control. Let’s stay in this moment.
Staying present helps our kids know that it is possible to stay in a hard moment. If they get into a fight with a friend and imagine how they will have to sit alone for lunch and recess for the rest of the year because they won’t have any friends, we can gently bring them back to this moment. ‘Right now, it feels hard. Things may change, but let’s stay with what we know is true.’
Is your speech loving?
Can we talk about a person’s choices, actions, and words without characterizing that person in judging, unkind, or insulting ways? Because the way we speak about a person teaches our children much more about us than about the person! So let’s be mindful of our speech. Let’s not dehumanize a person, no matter what they say or do, instead let’s speak directly about their choices.
This is important because our reactive and alarming speech is really scaring our kids. When a child hears a parent say, ‘He is evil,’ they are going to be scared about what this means for our country. When a child hears a parent say, ‘He speaks about Muslim people in a way that is just not okay. What I know is that our country is not only for one religion, it is founded on tolerance for all religions and no religion,’ they understand more clearly.
Gloria Shepard is a lifelong educator, mom to older teens, and long-time mindfulness and meditation practitioner, Gloria Shepard has a practical, heart-centered approach to mindfulness and parenting education. Gloria has spent more than ten years integrating mindfulness with motherhood, emotional work, trauma release, and healing. She is a Mindful School certified instructor, with a Masters in Education, trained in emotional awareness, trauma- and stress-informed mindfulness support, inquiry, and self-acceptance.
Digital Editor, Kosmos; Educator and Learner
Each donation, subscription, or purchase of $12 or more includes the many benefits of membership in Kosmos Community, including our Community News delivered to your inbox each month, private forums, invitations to live and online events, and special opportunities to engage more deeply with Kosmos.
Receive a special ‘thank you’ gift from Kosmos! Our set of five beautiful handmade Seed Notecards are perfect for expressing well wishes or notes of gratitude. Plant them in the Spring to grow wildflowers! Set of five.→ read more
Receive our signature Kosmos Meditation bracelet AND a set of five Seed Notecards at this level or above.→ read more
Play a deeper role at Kosmos by leading forums, reviewing books, and bringing new voices to light. Engage directly with our staff to align your passion with the work of Kosmos. You will receive a personal email inviting you to transform your aspiration into action. All the benefits described above.→ read more
Add a subscription here and receive even more benefits of membership in 2017.
Congratulations! You will receive password access to the digital edition of the award-winning Kosmos Journal, published twice a year and all the benefits of Kosmos Community membership. Kosmos Journal amplifies the voices of great thinkers, writers, policy makers and artists dedicated to global transformation.→ read more
Thank you for supporting the continued publication of our beautiful keepsake print Journal for one year! Published in the fall and spring, our bound, full-color journal is delivered to your door to keep, enjoy and share. As a Print Edition Member, you automatically receive access to the digital versions of the Journal and membership in Kosmos Community.→ read more
In addition to all the benefits of subscribing to Kosmos Journal, we have partnered with OneTreePlanted to plant five trees in the Colorado Rockies in your honor, or in honor of a loved one, to offset the carbon cost of printing and mailing. Join us in our effort to help restore our beautiful planet!→ read more