Leah McLaren: How to explain away the supervillains
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump offers a speech throughout election night at the New york city Hilton Midtown in New York on November 8, 2016. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images) “How am I going to discuss this to my kids? “This was the question echoing in the annals of middle class Western social networks yesterday as politically-minded parents the world over awoke to the news of a Trump victory. Our house was no exception.”We ‘d much better tell him before he goes to school, “my other half, Rob, said as I came downstairs. We both took a look at James, our four-year-old, who was on the couch, naked and covered in a sheepskin, seeing his 86th Team Umizoomi episode since awakening.”Listen, mate, we have to inform you something,” Rob began.
“Mmm hmm?” said James, not tearing his eyes away from the screen.
“A bad and crazy male has actually been elected the leader of the totally free world,” Rob continued.James took this in
then shrugged.”Okay Daddy, let’s kill him,” he said.Rob replied that wasn’t a choice. I looked down at the infant in my arms, simply eight weeks old, and sympathized with him for being born in the very same year Donald Trump came to power. I believed, “Well at least he’s a privileged white male.” Simply what the world needs.Later, we enjoyed
Trump’s success speech reside on the laptop as James ate his porridge. He looked puzzled by all the clapping and tooth-flashing and hair-flipping going on amongst group Trump. “If he’s a bad man, why is he stating good things
?”he asked.”Because he’s a very happy bad guy,” I said.Here’s the thing: When parents ask,”How do I describe this to my kids?”about Trump, what we are actually stating is “How do I make my kids not understand this? How do I make them understand that in an affordable world, Donald Trump is not what an American president should look like? How do I stop them maturing with the concept that mad, dangerous, racist bullies end up on top?”Since the genuine problem is that, in the mind of child, a leader such as Trump is easy to comprehend. In the mind of a kid, President Trump makes ideal sense.After school, by pick-up time, James had actually totally disliked the news.
He was more interested in the concern of who would win in a fight: A huge tarantula or a dangerous scorpion? It wasn’t that he didn’t understand the idea of a cartoonish half-mad super-baddy in a position of power. It’s that his brain is so filled with such concepts it just seemed sort of … normal.Just as Fran Lebowitz observed that Trump is “a bad individual’s idea of exactly what an abundant individual must appear like,”so,
too, is Trump a child’s concept of exactly what a developed Manager of The World ought to act like. If you told four-year-olds that a loud mad male who became well-known for shouting “You’re FIRED!”on TV had just presumed the greatest workplace in the land, they would not be surprised.Children don’t immediately understand the underpinnings of democracy, the importance of diplomacy, statesman-like conduct, tolerance and ruling by agreement.
These are values we, as adults, need to teach them.Children, by contrast, have the tendency to see the world in plain hierarchical terms: All battles are legendary, all bosses are totalitarian, all abundant, effective people look like the Trumps– glossy, plastic, spray-tanned. Excellent parenting, in numerous methods, is the process of breaking away at these simplified and harmful convictions and replacing them with an ethically nuanced grasp of reality.This chooses both fortunate white kids such as my own as well as those who have more to fear from a Trump presidency. The other day, I was strolling house from my son’s school when I faced another mom, my good friend and neighbour Aida, who is Muslim and initially from
Turkey.As our laughing kids zoomed ahead on their scooters, she sighed in disbelief. “My mom said to me today,’What does it matter that he won? We do not live in America!'” she said.”But I told her naturally it matters. It matters that this male who hates us is now president.
It matters since my son will one day comprehend that. It will affect his youth and his future no matter what I do to protect him from it.”I wish I might have said something comforting, however there was nothing to say. Aida and I stood for a while viewing our kids play. We hugged goodbye and went inside our separate homes to view the news all over once again. Report Typo/Error Follow Leah McLaren on Twitter: @leahmclaren On The World and Mail
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