Monday, November 14, 2016

Parenthood: Week 178 - Dear Ollie, 2016 Election

Dear Ollie,

I am so sorry. We failed you. We let you down. We tried to push back against the forces of fear and hatred and this time the darkness won.

I'm scared, your friends are scared and many other people all around the world are scared. Fear is a hard emotion, but we can't let it paralyze us. We have to be strong. We have to be brave.

There are people who didn't see the meanness and the hate as disqualifying. They didn't see that these horrible words were about your mother, you and me.

One of the greatest characters in literature is a Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird. He is one of my inspirations for being a dad.  One of his most famous quotes is, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view ... Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."  It's hard to do this work, but we have to try.  Sometimes people don't make any effort to do this, so you've got to make the extra effort.  It's exhausting, it's a burden, but you have to try.

Ollie, it's not enough to be kind, we must helps others be kinds. It's not enough to be respectful to woman; we have to insist that others are good to woman. And it's not enough that you embrace the wonderful facets of humanity including diversity in race, religion, sexuality and gender, we need to make sure all people do this. This is what it means to be a good person. This is what it takes to make the world a better place.

Your life, the wonderful experiences and joy that fill your day, exist because others before you fought for the rights of others. The way we show gratitude to those people is by continuing their work. We bring meaning to our lives when we work for others as others have worked for us.  With this work, you can change the world.  I know this to be true, because you have changed my world.

Because you are not Caucasian, you will not see yourself in leadership and authority figures, so you will use your imagination to remind yourself that these roles are open to you.  Because you are a man, you will enjoy privileges that woman do not, so you will spend your life making sure that you use these advantages to bring sucess to women.  Because you are a person of color, people will look at you as an "other," and question your place in America, so you will be strong, go high and never forget that those who would make you feel as an "other" are the least American of all of us.

When I'm at work with my students, I promise that I will spend every moment helping them develop the tools that will allow them to create a world where you are valued. I do this work for you. I will never give up on making this world for you as I will never give up on you.

I promise you that I will give you a President that deserves to serve you.  Maybe not today, but someday.  And I promise to spend the rest of my life working to make a world that honors you as my mom and I love you.

-Dad

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