Ground Control Parenting – Carol Sutton Lewis

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Tell Your Sons: Thanks, President Obama

Yesterday we said our last goodbyes to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. We watched them get on that helicopter with our hearts full of gratitude and pride. Today we watch women across the globe march for equal rights and against the new administration. There is a lot to process, a lot to get ready for, a lot to “stay woke” for. For ourselves, and for our children, especially for our sons.

As we prepare ourselves for this next administration, just want to share a few thoughts about parenting in this new era:

1. Be Grateful, and Tell your Sons to Be Grateful, for the Obama Administration. Our sons who are 8 years and under have only known the President of the United States as a man who looks like them. Can we just take a minute and sit with that??? Whatever you may think of any individual move he made as our President, every day for the past 8 years our sons and daughters have awakened to a world where our President was a smart, accomplished Black man, and our First Lady was a smart, accomplished Black woman. That our children could grow up knowing and understanding that the leader of our country, the leader of the free world, looked like them was a powerful gift that will stay with them for all of their days. A gift parents can and should build on as we challenge our children to do their best.

2. Celebrate the Power of our Democracy: Peaceful Transition and Peaceful Protest. 8 years ago we witnessed the peaceful transition of power from a widely unpopular president to our first Black President. Yesterday we witnessed the peaceful transition from a very popular president to a President for whom the majority of voters did not vote. Today, hundreds of thousands of protesters have hit the streets to protest the new administration. Tell your sons that we are privileged to live in a country where all this can happen peacefully, and where we can go to sleep knowing that the underpinnings of our democracy are safe. And, we live in a country where we can come together and march in solidarity, and work together for change. This has happened before and it will happen again.

3. Find Out What You Can Do in Your Neighborhood, and Do It. Walk around your neighborhood with your children and talk about how you can make it better. Volunteer your time as a family in whatever way you believe will be most helpful. Find out how to help your community members register to vote and volunteer to help with the registration process. It is not to early to focus on midterm elections. To fall back on an oldie but goodie, Be the Change you Want to See.

Our sons and daughters are watching us as we face this transition. We need them to see us being strong, confident and ready to get to work. Just like President Obama was 8 years ago! Let’s go.

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