When being a parent prevents you from being the change in the world, what can you do?
Tonight, we debated whether or not to go to the protest against the Muslim Ban at O’Hare Airport. Our family feels very strongly about being part of this great social movement to oppose President Trump, but my children are a bit trepidatious when it comes to protests.
I can’t lie. I am too. I mean, who feels comfortable bringing their children into a large crowd of unpredictable people as the day turns into night?
I’ve heard argued, and agree, that these are the times we have to fight. We have to get out of our comfort zones to do what needs to be done.
But I also have to trust my instincts when it comes to protecting my children.
If you’re feeling the same way. If you’re torn between fighting for others (or even yourself) and protecting your children, there are some things you can do.
Remember, as a citizen of America (perhaps a citizen of the world) AND a parent, you have more than one job. You can do your part by educating and guiding your kids to take on a bigger role in protecting Democracy in the future. Here are my suggestions:
- If there is a protest you would like to attend, but feel uncomfortable doing so, find a different protest event in another location or at another time that is promoting the same goals that you feel comfortable with. (In our case, we saw that there would be a rally for Muslim rights in the afternoon of the next day.)
- Teach your kids about the issue. (I find it effective to use phrases like, how would you feel if this happened to you? And I always reassure them they are protected. And that, unfortunately, others are not as lucky.)
- Encourage your kids to make protest signs about the issue. (My daughter’s sign is picture above. It says “Muslim rights are human rights.”)
- Demonstrate to your kids that your family feels strongly about an issue, by putting a sign in your window or front yard that tells others how you feel. We taped a MoveOn.org sign up in our front window.
- Lastly, and this may seem counterproductive, make sure your children feel powerful in their voices—if they don’t want to go to a protest, don’t make them go. (You are trying to teach them that their voices are strong. If they feel like their voices don’t carry any strength with you, then they will struggle to find their strength in the world.)
We’re all just trying to do the best we can.
What are your thoughts? Please comment below.