The one positive thing that emerged from this election was that I am able to have an engaging conversation with my children, between the ages of 10-13, about:
- Politics & government,
- The United States of America & our role in the world, in addition to,
- Appreciating and respecting people for their differences.
My children were visibly upset about the outcome of last night’s election. Although we shared our views of each candidate and our opinions as to who the better candidate was, we let our children form their own conclusions. Their views are obviously a reflection of ours, and also what they hear at school, on TV and in Snapchat or some group chat. My kids understood the role of separation of powers and realized we have a strong system of checks and balances.
However here is what I told them, which is also relevant advice for CEO and other business leaders:
- You can’t stoop to his level. Instead, you have to be the better person. You have to be smarter and respect people for their differences.
- There are a lot of people who are not just angry, they are haters of people who are different. We cannot be angry or a hater.
- When people hate, they are ignorant and do not know enough about someone to appreciate who they are. We need to take our time to learn about other people – Their culture and their faith, who they love and where they grew up, and what they want to get out life. In other words, we need to be present in the lives of the people around us and get to know our neighbors a little bit better.
- While the President may be identified as the leader of our country, this country was built on a system of check’s and balances and while the President may suggest laws, it is Congress who ultimately decides what that law will be, and there is a long process of debate and deliberation on what becomes law. The good news is that we can participate in that process. We can comment on legislation, lobby Congress or the legislature and use our voice to speak out and make a difference.
- The President is just one person, who has to appoint 4,000+ people to various positions in government. Those people will be his checks and balances. They will advise him in terms of what is right and what is wrong or which direction to move us towards. While it is the President who ultimately makes the decision, he should listen to his advisors and those who know more about him on the issue – So we need to work harder at knowing more about the issues important to us.
- If you are not happy about something, don’t like the decisions being made or the direction our country is going, speak up and speak out – Do something. Don’t just sit there and yell at the TV (or in their case, their iPhone).
This is our time to volunteer and get engaged in the communities to show people they are appreciated. It is our chance to show the world we care by becoming more involved as a global citizen, read more about what is going on in the world around us and become involved in public diplomacy.
The truth is, is that while we say the President may be the most powerful person in the world, he (or she) is only as powerful as we make him or her. In this case, we need to be better and stronger and smarter than the person whom we elected as President. Sure we need to stand behind him and support him as our President, but if he does something we disagree with or speak out of turn, you bet we will speak out and speak up and do something to make a difference in our community and in the world.