One parent’s worries about raising children in Donald’s first 12 days in office

My very own Daisy moment, courtesy of Donald Trump’s first 12 days in office

From Lydon Johnson's "Daisy" ad (image credit: Smithsonian Magazine)

From Lydon Johnson’s “Daisy” ad (image credit: Smithsonian Magazine)

Donald Trump was sworn in on January 20, 2017. Today is February 1. In that period, I’ve fallen asleep twice wondering if I’d wake up to a bright flash followed by a shock wave that turned my home to burning splinters around me and my sleeping family.

I’ve started wondering if this is what it was like for my parents, learning as children to “duck and cover” under their desks in the event of a nuclear attack. Whether this level of daily stress was normal during the Cuban Missile Crisis and other low points of the Cold War. They’re still alive – maybe I should ask them. Perhaps their perspective could help allay some of my fears. Then again, do I really want to know that they think “it’s worse now than it was then,” if in fact that’s what they think?

I’m trying to get to the point where I don’t talk much about politics around my kids. They’re 12 and 10, very smart, and observant. It’s been proven to me time and time again that my moods affect theirs, and I desperately want to spare them as much of this as I can. But there is only so much protection my wife and I can offer them.

When my mother-in-law died of cancer, I wanted to protect my kids. My wife pointed out to me that there was no way to protect them from the fact that their grandmother was gone. That sentiment, true as it was, broke my heart. Unfortunately, that same sentiment applies today – there are some things about Donald’s America that, however much I might try, I cannot protect them from.

So I will protect my children from the things I can, but prepare them for the things I cannot. Some days that will be taking them to kung fu class. Other days it will be talking to them about values like fairness, honesty, equality, how you treat other people, and so on. It will be teaching them how to tell good people from bad, how to think critically about what the read and see and hear on the Web, tv, and radio. It will involve making sure they value knowledge and science over ignorance and fantasy.

Those preparations were all things that were going to happen anyway. They’re part of raising children to be good people and responsible adults. But somehow they’ve taken on a new urgency in the last 12 days.

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