How I won't let Trump's views affect the way my son sees the world

How I won't let Trump's views affect the way my son sees the world

“When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor,” Kip Brown, a former employee at Trump’s Castle, told the New Yorker. “It was the eighties, I was a teenager, but I remember it: they put us all in the back." I cannot put my son through so much hate and racism.

On 9/11/16, Trump won the elections to become the 45th President of the USA. The world leaders hurried to congratulate him. Every leader talked about ‘strengthening the ties’. Trump, in his ‘victory’ speech, said, “While we would always put America’s interest first, we’ll deal fairly with everyone.” That is the least hateful thing he has said in quite some time.

The last two years have been crazy. A lot has happened to this world of ours, and a lot is still happening. ISIS went on a rampage, wrecking havoc in the middle east. This lead to many people trying to seek a safe haven in Europe, causing a European Refugee Crisis. The world skipped a heartbeat when we saw the image of Alan Kurdi, the 3-year-old Syrian boy who lost his life while escaping ISIS.

hate

(Image courtesy: Twitter)

BREXIT followed. No one expected it to happen. And yet, it did. So did the Republican win today. But today, many many Brits are regretting BREXIT. In the USA, everyone predicted an easy win for the Democratic candidate. Anyone who has been following the election would have sided with what the media is calling the ‘lesser evil’. But today, Mr Trump won!

What has this got to do with parenting??

Good question. Now let us break the news down so that we understand it better. Why did Trump win? Why did BREXIT happen? The answer to both the questions, as stated earlier, is xenophobia. Americans are afraid of foreigners. The Great Britain was afraid of Europeans. Trump won because he promised a wall to keep away the Mexicans. He said,

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.”

He promised that he would keep the Muslims from entering the country till the issue of ‘radical Islam’ is sorted. He promised that he would make Apple and others manufacture everything in America, instead of China and Vietnam. His views hint that every non-straight, non-white non-male would be dealt with strictly for not being non-straight, non-white and non-male. He openly praised the modern day dictators! And yet, the good people of America elected him.

This worries me. But what worries me more is the there is a great divide. The world, and not just America, is now polarised into two groups – the right and the left. And they are being secluded by the selective news and opinions they hear. This worries me as a parent because the popular sentiment is to go along with hate than with reason.

This web-toon captures my emotions perfectly

(Courtesy: Lunarbaboon)

What am I planning to do to stop my son from ‘hating’

Hate is an ugly emotion. But it is a primitive instinct. It comes when reasoning does not work and frustration takes over. Maybe that is why it comes a bit easier to children. This means that I have to go an extra mile to stop my child from being a hater. That sounds ambitious! But it is something that needs to be done.

Read on to know my plans to raise my kid to be a non-hater in a world full of hate…

I started with some introspection: am I a hater?

The answer is not simple. I do hate things. But I do not let that hate cloud my judgement in any way. And that is how most of us are! We hate without being haters. That is something we can expect our children to be. So what can we do as parents to prevent this epidemic from reaching our kids?

Here are the five steps that I plan to take to ensure that my son does not end up being a part of the mass hysteria of hating anything foreign.

1# I am NOT going to shield him from the news

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This may sound ridiculous at first, but if you think about it, it will make sense. Hate often springs from poor judgement, which, to begin with, comes from a lack of information. When my son asks, I am planning to tell him both sides of the story. I will let him form an opinion. Opinions are important to shape his personality. I need him to form his own opinions rather than borrowing them from someone else.

2# I am going to be nice and respectful to everyone in a hope that he copies it

I asked the brains behind the popular web comic strip, Lunarbaboon his take on how to raise kids without prejudice. He said, “If parents want their kids to be respectful then they need to show them this behaviour in every situation and with all people. Kids are notorious copycats”  And don’t we all agree?

I am sure when my son sees my wife and me being good, helping out others, he will feel inclined to do so. I really really hope this happens!

3# I am going to encourage him to research

Do you believe in everything that is being told to you? I don’t. I end up at least googling it to verify the truth behind the claim. I am going to teach my son how to do the same.

A scientist once said, if she wants to check facts, she would search if the opposite of it is true. For instance, when there are talks about radical Islam, I would encourage my son to google if there are good Muslims. And we all know that he would find many! When he reaches a conclusion that a few bad eggs are giving a religion a bad name, he would feel bad instead of being angry and starting to hate.

4# I am going to encourage him to let go

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Most of us learn this valuable life lesson very late in life. We do not let go. We cling on to our beliefs, we wallow in our helplessness. This ends up clouding our judgement. I am going to encourage my son to let go of things that he has no great control over. It is also an important step in meditation.

When we do it, it frees up the mind of things that we cannot change. I would not encourage him to accept the status quo. Rather, I would teach him how to make room for joy when all he sees is despair.

5# I am going to teach him that a harmonious world is possible

There is room for everyone. Who are we to judge the life choices of others? We do not know what the person went through. I am going to teach my son that there is contrary to what people think, we all have an equal right to exist. I wish that someday he says ,” I do not agree with you, but I will defend your right to express your opinion”. That is the world I grew in. And that is how it is supposed to be.

Mums and dads, I hope you DO find my plans too audacious because then I know I have a challenge on my hands. But honestly, we all are doing these things subconsciously. Why not give it a bit more thought and raise awesome, caring, kind kids that grow up to be responsible Earth-dwellers?

Do let me know what you think about it.

(Image courtesy: Twitter)

Also read: With mums like these, Singapore can never be truly Racist!

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Written by

Anay Bhalerao

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