As I watch and look at our country today and the way our nation is reacting to the recent election, I find myself asking, What the heck has happened to us as parents in how we are raising our children? At the ripe old age of 9, I learned a lesson that it seems as if people today never learned. So let me take you back to the conversation my dad had with a little 9 year old me and my 7 year old brother. A conversation that left me dumbfounded and a lesson I would never forget.
My brother and I were messing around, playing who knows what, and somehow politics came to the forefront of our brain. I dont remember if the radio was on or someone was talking in the background, but one way or another my brother and I started talking about the president. We said we hated him. We called him names and went on some little kid rant. Then my dad came over and put a stop to it. He didnt yell or even seem angry, but we could tell he was very serious. He told us that whether we like our president or not is an opinion we are allowed to have, it is what makes our country great, but we are still to treat our president with the respect he deserves. Like it or not, he is our president. Like it or not, he is who the American people have chosen. He reminded us God appoints all our leaders, so we are to honor Him by treating them with respect. We can pray for our leaders, we can disagree with them, we can pray they get removed from office, but We treat them with respect.
There is a line and we dont cross it.
He then apologized to us if he had been a poor example.
It was a lesson I would never forget.
I feel for you to understand why this was so life changing, I must explain what life looked like for me at this time. In 1993 Bill Clinton was elected the 42nd president of the United States. I was a toddler then. With 8 years in office he was pretty much the only president I had ever known. As a family, we talked about our country, our history, our soldiers, but other than the fact that Clinton was the president, we didnt really talk much at home on current political issues. These conversations on more current issues began when we got a little older, more mature, and better able to understand the issues the country was dealing with. There was one other thing however that we picked up on, my parents and grandparents did not like hearing President Clinton or anyone talk about him on the radio. I can remember it was the norm to hear him or his name mentioned and seeing my parents run to the radio and practically beat it into silence. What I didnt understand was that they were trying to shelter us from the details of our president and Monica Lewinsky, something that definitely was not appropriate for little ears. What we knew was our parents were hurt and mad. If you look at the Clintons history you have rape, murder, lies, abuse of power, bullying, and yet, there was my dad telling us to treat our president with respect, defending the only president I ever knew.
I knew my parents disagreed with just about everything the president said. I knew they thought he was an evil man. I knew they wanted him out of office. Yet even when Clinton was impeached, there was a line that we didnt cross. It was the contrast of my dad demanding respect for a president that he do disliked that sealed this moment in my mind. Had we had a president he liked, I probably wouldnt have remembered the conversation. The lesson stuck because I knew how hard it was for my dad to defend a president he so wanted out of office.
I learned there is a way to be angry, to disagree, yet still treat people as human beings.
I learned that you dont always get your way, even if you believe you know what is good and best.
I learned that God is ultimately in control over all things.
This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers And the decision is a command of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes And sets over it the lowliest of men.
Fast forward a few years and I can remember the first time I saw a Kill Bush bumper sticker. We were in the parking lot of Barnes and Noble off Sawmill Rd. I remember pointing it out to my mom and asking why that was ok. Wasnt it disrespectful? They can disagree with our president, but isnt that crossing a line? She said I was right, but not everyone treats people with the respect they deserve. I thought I made my mistake years ago because I was a dumb kid, but now I was seeing many adults dont have this common moral.
This election being my first election as a parent, was a good reminder of all of this. As parents we need to ask ourselves what we are modeling for our children.
- What example are we setting for our children?
- What lessons are they learning through this?
- Are they learning to respect the way our country was founded to govern?
- Are they learning to win graciously?
- Are they learning they dont always get their way?
- Are they learning to respect others when its hard or when they dont seem to deserve it?
- Are they learning to pray for their leaders, no matter who God puts over us?
If our kids dont learn these lessons then we will divide as a country.
“It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding.
November 9, our country began its progression towards our new leader, and as the sun streamed through the windows onto my bed where my baby was babbling and rolling around, I felt a tug and conviction on my heart to pray diligently and daily over the next four years. Whether you woke with a sigh of relief as a weight was lifted off your shoulders, or a crushing, hopeless blow fell on you, we can all pray for our president. We all should be praying for our president, something I realize I only do around election time. So in response to Gods prodding, I swooped up baby on the edge of the bed and told him we are going to pray every day for our president. I told him how God puts over men whom he wants. Our job is to pray, and we did.
So I am committing to pray every day for our country, for our president, for our leaders.
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.