Post-Election Discussions with our Daughters

1-eyn3dapomkdk-plf3-umggOur good friend and Generation W speaker Michele Ganeless has written a beautiful piece for Medium on the conversation she had with her 8-year-old daughter the morning after the election.  “I had to go with what she knows. And she knows love. She knows kindness. She knows compassion. So that is what I led with,” writes Michele.

Here is an excerpt of what she told her and “will continue to echo in the weeks and months to come”:

1) We need to double down on our own outpouring of love and goodness in the world. It’s the only way to combat the hatred that clearly exists. We are fortunate enough to be part of a warm, loving, diverse community in New York City. Not everyone is so lucky. We need to be grateful for our good fortune, and pay it forward. Give to others…monetarily, yes…but more importantly give of ourselves; more hugs, more time, more smiles, more kindness, more compassion. Be helpful, inclusive and lead with your heart.

2) Many of the people that voted for Donald Trump did not vote for him because they want to be mean to others, or because they don’t think a woman can lead — they voted for him because they wanted change. Many of them feel left out and forgotten by a system that seems to cater to the elite. They have been let down by political promises left unfulfilled and a decades old political ecosystem that does not address their needs. Donald Trump sold them the promise of change, and they bought it.

3) And yes, there are people who did not vote for Hilary Clinton because she is a woman. Sexism still exists in 2016 — it is a hard truth but one that should not be ignored, even in a conversation with an 8-year-old. I try to lead by example as a successful career woman and budding entrepreneur, and I will also continue to encourage her to believe she can do and be anything that she wants. All women face adversity, but we have to push through it and not let anyone silence our voices or dampen our spirit. It should serve to make us stronger. Change does not happen in the course of one election — it takes years, decades. Hilary Clinton has been fighting her entire life for what is right for children, and families and women. We must build on her legacy — continue to fight that fight. We have come a long way, but there is more work to be done.

Michele reminds us there are reasons to be optimistic including celebrating that many women did break through barriers on election night: Ilhan Omar of Minnesota became the first Somali-American legislature, Kamala Harris is the first black politician to represent California in the Senate, Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto became the first Latina elected to the Senate, Pramila Jaypal is the first Indian-American woman elected to Congress and Tammy Duckworth, a veteran of the Iraq War, defeated incumbent Senator Mark Kirk.

She closes her piece with a quote from Secretary Clinton, a quote every little girl should hear:

“Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

Click here to read the entire article in Medium.