What I Told My Children After The Elections

character

“The two most important decisions you can make in life are:1) Who you will follow and 2) Who you will marry.”

I heard a pastor say that quote years ago and I was reminded of it today. I’m sorry to disappoint, but this post is not about politics, candidates, or political parties. It’s all about character.

It’s 2:52 AM, the night after the elections, and I can’t sleep.

My body wants to rest, but my thoughts are like a broken faucet with an annoying drip that doesn’t stop.  My mind is processing the elections, the unending social media reactions, the political pundits’ commentaries, etc. It’s like I’m holding the door shut, but all of this stuff is trying to burst in.

Instead of adding more political commentary or reaction, which I’m sick of, I want to focus on what I told my daughters during dinner.

My daughter, who is in elementary school, was sharing with my wife and I some of the political remarks she overheard her friend say.  She seemed confused and looking for a reaction from us to see which way her young mind should go.

I didn’t respond to her comments. Instead, I re-directed the conversation where it matters. I asked her not to get distracted by appearances. We’re not here to judge, I said.

I shared with her the quote above and then asked her to focus on character.

When you want to decide who to hang out with, who to marry, who to follow, who to be influenced by, or what type of person you want to become, I explained, focus on  character. It’s an invisible quality that speaks volumes.

The media has dissected every word, gesture, and tweet from these Presidential candidates with the hopes of convincing us that said actions were right or wrong, ethical or unethical, legal or illegal. I don’t need the FBI, the Supreme Court, or the media to determine where my family’s core values.

Thanks, but I got this covered.

The most important thing I learned from these elections is how important it is for parents to define, discuss, and live out their own core values. Politicians will come and go, but the example parents give will last a last time.  Regardless of who sleeps in the White House, I am responsible for defining my family’s core values.

If you’re a parent, model the behavior you want your children to follow and don’t outsource it with your vote. That’s how we build true character.