Parent with Hope

Parent With Hope, Not Fear

In February 2016 this video of then 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin meeting President Barack Obama at the White House went viral. The joy of her spirit, the pride in eyes, and the satisfaction in her voice are enough to inspire anyone.

At 106, she had personally witnessed many pivotal shifts in American history. She was born not long after African Americans were granted the right to vote. She was born before women were granted the right to vote. The opportunity to meet an African-American president for whom she was able to vote was a once in a lifetime chance. Think about that. 

Just days prior another viral video focused on President Obama hit the internet. Only this time, the mood wasn’t happiness, but despair. Caprina D Harris posted this video of her granddaughter, who shares a birthday with the President. She was in hysterics because he won’t be president for much longer. What a stark contrast in response to the same event.

Also Related: 5 Ways Parents Can Help Teens Manage Emotions

You Must Feel To Parent With Hope

That same weekend, Olivia and I watched a video where a young girl quoted President Barack Obama stating, “Yes we can.” To explain the reference I showed Olivia the Yes We Can music video. Produced and arranged by it is set to the words of a speech delivered by Barack Obama during the 2008 Presidential Campaign.

I was overcome with emotion and had to fight back tears watching this video with my daughter. There is significance to the song, the speech, the slogan, and the place in history President Obama holds for our country. I knew in order to fully explain it to my child, I have to reveal some ugly truths about who we have been and who we are as a nation.

And as a mom, I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready because of my uncertainty, my own emotions, my own fears. I wasn’t ready to parent with hope and not fear.

Lean Into Your Uncertainty

May your choices reflect your hopes and not your fears. Nelson Mandela

My uncertainty won. The uncertainty of how my compassionate giver would respond to such harsh realities. Would these realities motivate her drive or crush her spirit? Not knowing how she would handle it held me back.

I let my emotions rule the day. If I showed emotion my little humanitarian would too. It was too hard to explain the pride and the sadness behind my tears.  I didn’t want to have to own up to my emotions that day.

I gave into my fear.  The fear of her questions that have no clear and reasonable answers. My fear of the damage to her psyche when she realizes that what’s happening in our country is very different than what she experiences in her everyday life.

Also Related: 3 Lessons Donald Trump Can Help You Teach Your Kids

Embrace Hope Even When It Seem Unlikely

But I should have allowed my hope to intervene. The hope that she will see goodness in the world. Hope in the goodness within her that will be seen by the world. The hope that her faith in humanity will remain and grow.

I should have operated from a place of hope that day. The same hope that brought us to the place we are today. Hope that is the source of so much joy and so much sorrow. The same hope that inspired the very young and the very aged.

Do you struggle to parent with hope and not fear? I would love to hear your story.

13 Replies to “Parent With Hope, Not Fear”

  1. I am not a mother yet, but I can understand your emotions as a parent! What a time we’re leaving in! Many reasons to hope, as well as many trying times. I’m so grateful we got to witness such a great man become President.

  2. What a tough time to parent in today. My step-daughter is almost 20, so I remember explaining to her the significance of Obama being president. It’s hard to balance being hopeful with being cautious and safe in the world we live in.

  3. I have a 12 year old son and I operate a little in both, fear and hope. I am fearful of all things that happening to African American boys and men in this country and I try to teach my son and make him aware of everything going on out of fear.
    I hope that in our lifetime we see a change but at the moment, I have to operate and make sure that he stays protected out of fear.

  4. I’ve been told that “You can’t pray and worry. It’s one or the other.” I believe that. I’m not much of a worrier, and I walk by faith.

  5. I’m not a mom yet, but I can totally see how it could be difficult to parent with hope with all that’s going on in America and the entire world. Still, I think it’s important that parents try their hardest to be faithful instead of fearful in order to raise faithful children. Living in fear isn’t good for anyone.


  6. I just watched Blackish this week and they talked about this very topic. I don’t have kids yet but I definitely think about how things will be for them.

  7. I’m not a parent so l can’t answer that question :-). I do feel sad though that we won’t have the president much longer. I have a feeling it will be a long time before we see another one like him.

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