Donald Trump. He has a lot to say. (And not very coherently I might add.) His favorite thing to say, however — other than “disaster”, “China”, and “emails” — is “Make America Great Again”. I can’t say that I’m super pleased with our country at the moment, but I have a very different idea of what’s going to make America great than Mr. Trump does. My ideas certainly don’t include demonizing an entire religion or locking out hard working people coming to America to make a better life. Here are some ways we, as parents, can make America great again. (Spoiler: it doesn’t include voting for the Donald.)
1. Bring back the respect
When I was a kid I remember calling my friends’ parents by Mr. or Mrs. and their last name. It was basic respect for my elders. No one does that anymore, though. Adults are too afraid of feeling old so they have their kid’s friends call them by their first names. (I’m guilty of it too!) The fact is, though, it’s ok to be whatever age you are. You’re the adult. The kids are the kids, and they should note the difference with a Mr. or Mrs.
Respect starts at home and we need to demand it from our kids. The smallest things count because they lay the building blocks that stack up over time to create a child’s character.
2. Hold our kids accountable
We are models for our children in everything we do. Unfortunately, this means my eldest is probably already dropping F-bombs behind closed doors, but I digress. It’s totally natural to want to prevent our kids from feeling pain and to want to help them whenever we can. It’s super easy to take it too far, though, and that’s when our kids start to feel like the rules don’t apply to them. We need to be holding our kids accountable.
If there’s a consequence at school for not doing homework, don’t call the teacher to make excuses for why your kid couldn’t do it. Don’t let the kids get away with not doing chores because it’s easier not to fight over it. Don’t come up with reasons to explain to others why your kid is behaving poorly.
It’s going to be harder on you than it will be on them, but we’ve got to make our kids accountable for their actions.
3. Don’t shelter them
I once had a friend who refused to call private parts by their anatomical names. I know someone who homeschools her kids because she’s afraid of what they’ll pick up in public school. As the mother of a first grader who has only been in public school for a whopping two years, I won’t lie to you folks, it ain’t always pretty — but kids can’t live in the bubble forever.
You, Mama, are smart, and your little nuggets could benefit from your wisdom. Don’t put off the important stuff, talk about it. Invite your kid to ask questions. Make time for conversation.
They’ll learn about the tough stuff one way or another, so make sure the majority of their information comes from your lips.
4. Encourage your kids to be kind
One of the biggest issues in our society today is that we hate people who are not like us. We don’t just misunderstand them, we HATE them. Hate may be a strong word, but it’s accurate — and that’s what makes it so terrifying.
We are all different in the United States, and that’s one of the reasons it’s such a fabulous place to live. Diversity is a beautiful thing. It’s something to be proud of. Make sure your child understands that. Talk about what makes us different and how very important it is to really understand these differences.
First and foremost, America is a pretty great place today. We have some significant issues that need to be addressed, but nothing is going to get better overnight. Furthermore, no one is going to 100% agree with the direction either one of the presidential candidates take us. As parents, it’s our job to make America the best it can be be raising the future voters of this country to be healthy, open-minded, and fundamentally good individuals. It all starts with us.