In an hour our oldest daughter, Thea, will wake up and ask us the inevitable; who won, mommy? We have not shielded her from the election, nor overtly exposed her to it. Instead she has picked up the commotion surrounding her piece by piece as kids have taunted each other on the playground and we have answered her many questions. Why do people like Trump or Clinton? Where will the wall be built? Why does it matter, mommy?
To a 7 year old the election is only a Tuesday night blip. An event out of the ordinary but soon forgotten. Yet as her mom, I keep thinking about the conversations that lie ahead, of what path our country will take now, of what questions she may bring home after she hears things on the playground.
I refuse to be afraid of the future that lies ahead. I have faith in the American people that we will choose kind even if those in office fail to do so. I have faith that our healing lies in our classrooms, where we will continue to teach all of the children, no matter their political beliefs, no matter their origins, no matter their stories.
While our presidents may define us outwardly as a nation, they will never define our classrooms unless we let them. Unless we choose to shape our morals based on the actions of someone else. It does not matter where your political affiliation lies; this election has changed us all, has brought a darker side to our united nation and it is now up to us to show the good that is America.
Our children may not care who sits in the Oval Office. Our children may not care about the political mudslinging or the decisions that are to come. We will, and yet we can teach such that we continue to focus on what we have always focused on; kindness, empathy, awareness and critical thinking.
America may feel like it has changed overnight, and yet it still looks a lot like the America I knew yesterday. It is still filled with good people, with dreams of a better life, of teachers who work tirelessly to help shape the future of our country. Of children who strive for knowledge and a place they can belong.
So do not stray from your path of goodness. Do not forget to teach the every day lessons of kindness, sharing, listening, and building community. We say that we as teachers help shape the future of of our country, we do, so now we shall continue down the path we have been walking for so long. One that focuses on unity. One that focuses on education for all. One that focuses on coming together, rather than apart.