Every day in parenting has a little spark of potential – the ability to ignite into something unique. Few of them show markers ahead of time, but today was different. Today was a day of learning from the very moment it was conceived.
What started out as a permit for an anticipated 200k attendees wound up being the basis for peaceful demonstrations that would ally millions of people around the world from Washington D.C. to Antarctica. In streets, on Facebook, and in living rooms, we said in one united voice: “We stand for something more. We believe in something more.” Watching the powerful oration of Ashley Judd and America Ferreira with my boys, engaging in conversations with them around our own kitchen table as we prepared our signs… every moment of listening and discussion was precious and treasured.
I’ve mentioned in the past that I was a teacher by trade; I actually taught in public schools for over a decade. As a teacher, you bear the heavy burden of being a part of a child’s moral compass, much like being a parent. Integrity, respect, commitment, character, fairness. These were all integrated into my classroom verbiage, and still, I find the words an integral piece of how I engage with my own kids. So, in including my children in the conversation about our country’s future, all of these pieces were a part of the puzzle and reflected in our conversations and, more importantly, continue to be a part of our expectations for how things MUST go from here. I’m at the helm of my family’s ship, and I will raise boys who are kind, respectful, courteous, who persevere for what is right, and who will speak for those who have less power than they do.
I had a conversation last week with a friend. She said something along the lines of: “For a moment I was fearful of going to the Women’s March. But then I realized that was exactly why I have to go.” It resonated with me so powerfully. And so, this morning, we dressed in designs of our own choosing. I wore a shirt I had made with a Malala quote; my oldest chose Hogwarts. Because Harry Potter, but more importantly because CHOICE MATTERS. Then, our voices blended together as we chanted “women’s rights are human rights” and “be honest, be kind.” Loudly, we practiced for anyone who might listen along the sidewalk near our neighborhood coffee shop… older voices joined by a sweet, innocent, and somewhat squeaky 4-year-old one. We finished the final touches on our protest signs, penned laboriously and colorfully on the backs of manila folders. And while, ironically, circumstances kept us from making it out to the downtown San Diego march as we had planned, they did not keep us from our truest purpose: learning, standing together, speaking as one.
I believe in many things, but one of the most important among them is this: we have an obligation as parents… to be the best role models for our children that we can. To stand for our families and friends, for the world we want our children to inherit, and for the purpose of raising human beings who are self-actualized, sentient, empathetic lifelong learners.
So with that it mind, I’m standing. Are you?