A couple of nights ago during dinner, my daughter saw a letter from a local organization called REbel. They work in middle and high schools to address body image issues and eating disorders. The organization makes a difference in hundreds of lives every year, impacting student's self-confidence and understanding of beauty. Makenna read the letter and asked what it was about. She is just six and in the first grade. While I can already see how her self image is impacted by what kids say at school, she is still a little young to fully grasp self confidence and what it means. Just that day, I found her in bed crying because a fellow student had laughed at her when she said she had a step-mom.
My natural reaction to her question about REbel was to tell her that they work with kids in schools and to leave it at that. Too difficult to explain and maybe too deep for them to understand, was my thought.
Thankfully Chesney, my fiance, has much better instinct on this than I do. She began to share about the work they do. She explained, "as girls get older they some times start to question what they can accomplish in life or worry about how they look or feel bad about how much they weigh. This group talks to girls about how they can be anything they want. They can be President of the United States if they want! Fitting into what other people say to us doesn't matter, what is inside matters the most"
I was blown away. Actually, I'm still blown away. She gracefully explained a very difficult topic to a 6 year old, in words that could be understood and she reinforced Makenna's self confidence while she did it. It was simply amazing.
As soon as the girls went to bed, I turned the TV to the day's political coverage and quickly back to our reality. We have a candidate for President that at every possible opportunity is degrading and offensive to a majority of people. Every compliment he pays a woman is about her looks, every criticism is name calling and also...about her looks. His son was quoted recently as saying women that can't handle harassment don't belong in the workplace.
This is a family that in offends me in every possible way. Their attacks on women don't just impact my daughters, they impact all of our kids, girls and boys alike. They like to argue this is about too many people being "politically correct", but that is a garbage argument. Political correctness isn't a liberal agenda to soften America. It's a human agenda to demand respect for all people. Being aware of our words and our actions and how they impact other people isn't about ignoring the truth to make other people feel good, it is about stepping outside of ourselves to see the truth.
I clearly have hopes for how this election turns out. But with either result, we are at a critical time for the lessons we show are children. There will be anger and uproar on either side come November 9th. It is time we take a vocal stand for the world we want them to grow up in. It is time we have difficult conversations on all sides and all topics to build a world that is less divisive. It is time we actually hear the opinions of others, regardless of our own. It is time we do more building up than we do tearing down.