I was trying to tuck the kids in late last night with words that would allow them to sleep. I reminded them that we are surrounded with good people, people who are not prejudiced, people who understand what is happening to our planet, people who value kindness and goodness and will work hard to protect them and the nation as a whole. I may also have included the word “douchebag.”
In a few minutes, they will wake, my children and yours, and they will want to know more. They will want to know why. And we will say: Because people were afraid.
Soon, those people will be more afraid. Maybe in a few months, maybe in a year, maybe in a few minutes — however long it takes to find out that the man behind the curtain is not great or powerful or capable of fixing the world. But together, we are, and we will tell them that. We are capable of working together to make the world a better place, which is no different from what we’ve told our children since they were born, in every story, in every lullaby. We will tell them again.
We will pat their backs and tell them everything will be okay, repeating it and repeating it until we believe it ourselves.
We will tell them to watch out for friends and for strangers and for people whose voices are soft and for people who feel they have lost theirs altogether.
We will ask our children what they believe in and find solace in their answers.
We will tell them it’s okay to be scared but we will ask them to be brave.
We will show them the sun in the sky and the birds in the trees (or we would if it weren’t raining.)
We will show them the cats, who will flit their tails and demand food and knock the vase off the counter.
We will quote from their favorite books.
We will wear poetry like it is armor.
We will arm ourselves with music and quote Mr. Rogers and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
We will quote prophets and comedians and saints.
We will take the lessons from storybooks. We will not give up.
We will give our children pens and pencils and crayons and tell them that sometimes we have to rewrite the story. Now, we have to rewrite the story.
We will demand a happily ever after.