The World is so Different

Last night, over dinner, my 7-year-old asked why the people did bad things at the capitol. I was a bit taken aback by his question. I didn’t know he knew anything about it.

I first asked him where he heard about it. Then I asked him what he knew.

He told me the kids were talking about it at the hockey rink. He also told me who each of the kid’s parents supposedly voted for.

He asked why they did it and why they all had flags and why people got hurt. He asked the questions that many of us still have today, but when they come out of a tiny mouth, it sure makes it a lot more real.

The world is so different for kids today.

When I was 7, I was playing babies. I didn’t know who my parents voted for. I sat there for a minute and forced myself to think back to my first political memory. Or even my first breaking news memory.

I remember sitting in my kitchen watching the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. My mom had just made chocolate chips cookies and the footage was on the television. I was 12. I didn’t understand why or what had happened. Just that it looked like a huge mess on the tv screen.

I remember sitting on my grandma’s living room floor, in front of the television, playing Barbies, while my family watched OJ’s white bronco drive across the screen. I was 11. I can still see it vividly on her television set.

But I don’t remember knowing who the president was. I don’t remember knowing if my parents were republican or democrat.

I do remember them voting though. We would drive after work to an old white schoolhouse in the Wisconsin countryside. I would wait in the car while they went in and voted. After we would get an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen.

Who they voted for was beyond me. I most likely didn’t even know who was on the ballot.

My son is 7 and political names roll off his tongue effortlessly. He saw the National Guard roll down our streets after the shooting of George Floyd. He told his class over zoom today that the Coronavirus was started by a person eating a penguin.

It makes me sad when I think about it. These kids are living in an adult world. The heaviness that you and I watch on the evening news is trickling down.

Kids, I am sorry this is the only world you know. This chaos that is almost indescribable is foreign to me too.

Please know there is good too. So. Much. Good. And as parents, it is our job to show it to you.

I can’t stop the hate or the chaos, but I can dull the edges for you.

I can teach you kindness and about differences.

I can snuggle you longer and let you sneak into my bed and ask questions.

I can shelter you and keep you young. And when the time is right, I can teach you too.

But most of all, I can love you through. I can do better as a parent. We all can.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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