We are a week out from the election and there is still a lot of uncertainty, to say the least, about what a Donald Trump presidency will mean. Some of our children and youth will be able to articulate their reaction and feelings about this, others may simply be reacting. It’s important to let your child know that you and they still have agency, that people with your viewpoint have been protesting and speaking out under the Obama presidency, and that you’ll continue practicing your Unitarian Universalist values under the Trump administration, just as you would if Hillary Clinton had been elected.
Last Sunday we had record attendance in our congregation, including the Religious Exploration program. It was apparent that people needed to gather in a community of shared values and be affirming of them. Many, including children and youth, expressed their deep disappointment that Hillary Clinton was not elected. And it may also be true that some appreciated the outcome of the election. That is okay too. We all need to be able to make connections and listen to others. Certainly in our RE program children need to be able to talk about what they are feeling and how their ideas relate to our Unitarian Universalist values.
Let me be clear that among our Unitarian Universalist values are tolerance, inclusion, and reason. Everyone is welcome, but not all stances are tolerated. Promoting bigotry, hatred, and oppression is not tolerated.
There are many resources being shared right now focused on working against bigotry, hatred, and oppression. Parents and other adults who care for children and youth might find these helpful.
- From The Southern Poverty Law Center – Speak Up: Responding to Everyday Bigotry
- From Cult of Pedagogy – Social Justice Resources
These articles both give tools for responding directly to bigotry and resources for further learning and action. Another simple action you can take with your middle and high school youth is to pay attention to what is coming across Facebook feeds and talk about the role privilege plays in our lives and in working for equality. As Saundra M Troy-Ward posted on Facebook:
People with all the privileges keep saying
“It’ll be OK! “
“It is what it is now! “
“Oh well, better luck in 4 years”
“*joke about moving to Canada*”
“He’s our president now it’s time to accept it”
All my friends without those same privileges :
“Will my marriage stay legal? “
“Are we safe?”
“What’s going to happen to my Healthcare? “
“Are we safe?”
“Will my trans child be safe at school? “
“Will this increase the militarization of the police in my predominantly black community? “
“Are we safe? “
“Will Roe vs Wade be overturned? “
“Am I safe?”
If you tell people to accept this and move on – your privilege is showing.
This is the right time to live into our values. We will model, mentor and walk beside our children and youth as we find find ways to make our voices heard, gather in communities that support our values, and cultivate our spirituality to develop the inner strength to be brave.
Finally, our Unitarian Universalist values call us to respond with love. Let all our actions be responses grounded in love – love for ourselves, love for our neighbors, love for the interdependent web of life of which we are all a part.
Director of Religious Education