About a month ago, I came home distraught because I found out Theo was having problems being nice at daycare.
I know he’s two, but it’s so important to me that he grows up to be kind. On the flip side, it’s so hard to be sure you’re getting through to a two-year old, so I didn’t know how to approach it. I’m still learning.
So we started talking about how important it was to be nice. Maybe the most important thing. We talked about people we knew who were nice (Aunties, Uncles, Ellie, Alma- you all made the list). At some point, probably because we listen to a lot of NPR in the car, we ended up talking about how Trump was not nice. How Obama and Hillary were.
When Trump won on Tuesday night, I was relieved that at least my kids are little and I didn’t have to shoulder the heartbreaking task of explaining what had happened to my babies.
But then this morning, when I was getting ready, I thought about it some more. I thought about how smart Theo is, and how Jon and I have been talking about the election so much in the last few months and how it hasn’t stopped since Wednesday morning. He’s seen us walking around worried and nervous and angry.
Theo deserves to focus on being a kid, but he also deserves the truth. I remember wanting that as a little kid, and I know he’s practically a baby, but he’s still a human and a citizen of this world.
And as I’ve said and will continue to say, our kids are watching us.
So this morning I sunk onto the floor and pulled him into my arms, and I explained to my baby that Mommy and Daddy have been talking to him about how Trump isn’t nice, but how now Trump is going to be the President.
He furrowed his brow and looked at me hard, but he just said “Oh.”
Theo’s always been good about reading people, since he was born, and I could tell he sensed that I was struggling with this. He leaned against me, which is important to note because Boo is two and on the go and doesn’t have any moments to waste leaning against his mother while engaging in anything that doesn’t end with him getting candy.
But he did.
Then I told him that it’s still important to be nice. It’s so, so important that he be nice to everyone.
He looked at me, and he put his hand on my face, and he said “We’ll be nice, Mommy!”
And then he scampered off to play with his sister.
This is how we will do better, chickens. We will do better by teaching our kids to do better. They’re smarter than us, thank God, and they will grow up into a kinder America if we teach them that this is the right thing.
We’re just getting started, here.