Auguries of Innocence
I know for sure I’m not the only one still reeling from the alarming results of last week’s election.
When I picked Lulu up from daycare the evening after the election, I commented on how dark it was outside, referring to the effects of the time change (though of course Lulu didn’t understand that). I was carrying her – she doesn’t need to be carried anymore, but I just really wanted to hug her – so she was looking me right in the eye when she said, “Don’t be afraid of the darkness, Mamina, because there is going to be light.” It was a little spooky and a lot wonderful. I cried, of course, and Lulu wanted to know if my tears were “the ones we get when we just love someone so much.” They certainly were, and I am going to do everything I can to make sure that there is indeed “going to be light” in the world for my loved ones. For all of us.
One thing I’m doing is following this site one of my former professors has set up and made public. If you’re not sure what kind of productive action to take in response to Trump’s impending presidency, I urge you to take a look at Professor Matt Price’s website for concrete suggestions and guidance. After all, discussion amongst like-minded friends on Facebook might make us feel a bit better, but it won’t do much else unless we back up our words with actions.
Notwithstanding her (hopefully) prophetic words, Lulu is too young to understand that a great darkness is growing in the world, and that it threatens us all. Many of you, however, have children who do understand, and you’re struggling to find the right words to explain what’s going on. As always when discussing difficult subjects with your children, take your cue from them: get them to start talking and asking questions so that you can address their specific concerns and fears rather than inadvertently and unnecessarily adding more. Be honest, of course, but not alarmist: none of us knows what the future holds (not even Lulu!), so there is no point forecasting worst-case scenarios – at least not within earshot of your kids. Most importantly, we all need to make more of an effort than ever to cultivate empathy and kindness in ourselves and in our children. No matter what’s going on in the world, the most impactful and enduring messages our kids receive are the ones that come straight from us. It’s a huge responsibility, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one taking comfort in the fact that the behaviour I model will influence my kids infinitely more than anything Donald Trump can ever say or do.
P.S. Read William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence” here.