We are several weeks out from one of the most explosive presidential elections of my lifetime. The depth of feeling surrounding the presidential candidates and the new President-elect has been epic. It has taken me some time to process everything and find peace in the midst of chaos.

Part of my struggle was trying to understand and respond to the emotions pouring out of people while writing articles about sleep training, potty training, and holiday travel tips. It felt trivial to be focusing on the daily routine of motherhood when people in the country were full of anger, fear, and grief.

But the truth is, the routines of parenting and political conflict are both a part of my reality. I am a stay-at-home mom of a three year-old little girl who has daily responsibilities which can feel ordinary and mundane. But I am also a free citizen of the United States of America, responsible for being informed and educated on current events and contributing to society in a conscientious way.

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It’s tempting to live an insular life, surrounding myself with like-minded people. But I’ve come to recognize that even within my small little community, there is much diversity of thought. As I was sifting through recent events, I wondered what role a small town, stay-at-home mom has to play in this real life drama.

So far, I haven’t come up with any earth shattering ideas, but this election has been a catalyst for thought. It has awakened me to the part I do have to play:

 

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Listen

There is not a lot of listening going on right now in our country. People are blaring their emotions, opinions, and conjecture on social media and treating fellow Americans in ugly, hateful ways.

I am only one person, but I can listen. I can ask people how they are feeling. I can hear their perspective and seek to understand their point of view. And I can do this without having to agree or share my beliefs in return.

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Hopefully, if someone feels like they have been heard and validated, they will in turn listen and seek to identify with others as well.

 

Model

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I have someone in my sphere even closer than my neighbors—my little girl.  She is watching and learning about the world from me.

She will grow up in a culture that is highly relativistic; each person oriented towards one’s own truth and happiness.

I want her to learn to be a strong woman with a kind and selfless heart. To be a person who loves those around her and someone who is empathetic to the vulnerable, oppressed, and under-resourced.

And the most impactful way to teach her those things is to model the type of person I long for her to be.

 

Faith

What has brought me the most peace, hope, and perspective in this whole crazy time has been my faith in the truth of God and the Bible. I believe in absolute truth and also amazing grace and love.

I want my little girl and those around me to see there is truth to stand on. And because of that truth, we can lavish love on everyone—especially those that think differently.

I don’t have the capacity at this point in my life to influence national or political change. But I do have the capacity to affect change in my own life and, hopefully, my home and community.

 

So regardless of the political climate, let’s seek to listen to others, model character, and pursue truth.



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Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.



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