Love is the answer
Here's what I do know. I know that hate breeds hate. I know that when we see our leaders conduct themselves without regard for others, some people feel like that gives them the ok to do the same. I personally have friends that since the night of the election have been treated in ways that they haven't been treated in years if at all. I've seen fear in the eyes of people that I love. People that are entitled to the same human rights that ALL of us deserve. Here is what I'm doing as a Mother to raise empowered, compassionate women.
When my girls were little, I realized that it was my responsibility not only to care for them, but to help mold them into adults that will positively contribute to the world. Its not enough to just love them, we have to lead by example. Early on I tried to shelter them from conflict. I tried to keep them from pain. I tried to shield them from the real world. I don't know when it happened or what the change was, but I realized that I was wrong.
I'm completely honest and upfront with my kids. If they have a question I answer it. If I see something unjust I call it out. I stick up for myself in all situations. Even if it involves a relative or my husband. I don't shrink down for anyone. Sometimes my husband tells me that he wishes I would not argue with him in front of the girls. I think it is so important that they know that it is always ok to voice your opinion, no matter who it's to!
I also stick up for others. I fight for equality for all. I have raised my girls to see the differences in others and to embrace and appreciate them for it. To love everyone for who they are, regardless of our differences. To respect other peoples right to live their lives the way they want to! My kids are always the first amongst their peers to stick up for the persecuted, bullied and oppressed! Sometimes my girls fire and strength backfires on me, but even then I'm proud of how strong they are!
I teach them to question everything. If they know something isn't right it is their job to help make it that way. If they need help they know I'm always here. They know I will always support and defend them. Sometimes I worry that I'm a little too much. That my inability to stand by and let people get away with things is embarrassing for the girls. I worry that they will think I'm mean or scary. The other day I mentioned this to one of my teens. Her response blew me away. She told me that the way I stick up for them and myself is one of her favorite things about me. She said that she hopes one day to be so confident and brave. It was honestly one of the best moments I've had as a Mom.
At the end of the day all we can do in these troubling times is teach our children love and compassion. Teach them openness and honesty. Teach them to fight for what's right. Teach them to stand beside all our brothers and sisters. Teach them to fight hate in all forms. Teach them to respect what makes us all different as well as what makes us the same. Let's spread light and inclusion, compassion and love! Love truly is the answer to every question.