Today we are watching the inauguration of the new President of the free world. This man rose to presidency by mocking the disabled and discrediting our veterans. He stooped to name-calling at every juncture of the campaign trail. He promises to make America great, without citing sources for how he plans to achieve greatness. Nor has he proven that the Cabinet surrounding him will be equipped to make the right decisions when called upon.
I’m frightened, as I’m sure many of you are too.
But despite your or my vehement opposition and genuine fearfulness for what is to come, Donald Trump is the President today.
And that’s that.
My mother, the eternal optimist, instilled in me the importance of finding the good in every situation, even if I have to create it myself. Sometimes you have to squint to see it, but there’s always a silver lining.
Since the day Donald Trump won the election, I’ve been grasping for optimism, squinting to see that silver lining. And this morning, I think I’ve found it.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not arrogant enough to believe that I alone can change the world, or even control my own destiny in a world full of bigotry, sexism, and other countless atrocities. What I’m saying is this: We as people, we as parents, are charged with the responsibility of teaching our children right from wrong.
In the end, the values instilled in my children depend most on my leadership, not the President’s.
George Bush and Bill Clinton didn’t teach me kindness as a child, my parents did. God knows President Trump will not be teaching my daughter kindness through his words or actions. But the sad reality of our current time tells us that we can no longer depend on politicians to be pillars of character in our country. It’s my responsibility, not the President’s, to teach my daughter kindness, humility, and tolerance.
As parents and as people, we have the final say in how our children will approach life. And for approximately 18 years, we have the opportunity to stand between our children and the world. Yes, there is an inevitable amount of evil that will seep into their fields of vision in the process, but we can drown out the evil with our light.
President Trump won’t teach my daughter to have character, but I will.
For my daughter, I pray I can be a beacon of good, of kindness, and of light. In fact, in these next four formative years of her life, I may have to work overtime as a parent to ensure her little spirit bends toward the sun. But I will make it my life’s work to create the good I wish to see in the world. I’ve created life, and it’s my responsibility, as her parent, to guide her in the right direction.
Presidents come and go, but I will strive to be an enduring role model for my daughter and future children. And even though President Trump may not have been my first, second, third, or millionth choice for the first president my daughter will ever remember, the sun will still rise. The world will still spin.
And the good will still be there, even if we have to squint to see it, even if we have to create it ourselves.
For more writing from Emily Music, please visit www.notyourbasicmom.com.