I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to turn off my TV in disgust many times during this election cycle.
As we are nearing the last few weeks of the campaigns, things seem to be getting more and more heated. As someone who has practiced mindfulness and positive thinking my whole adult life, I am often shocked at the level of hurt and anger that the media displays on a daily basis. I turn on the news only to wonder what the next mean, degrading, negative comments will be.
It hurts me to the core.
Children are watching and listening too. They hear the radio in the car and the TV in the background. They hear heated discussions between family members and friends. They may also overhear conversations at school from some of the older kids. The energy of this election is going into their minds, bodies and spirits.
So what do we do as parents to help protect our children from this challenging energy?
I don’t believe that we can hide this from our children. Even toddlers are listening to their parents and babysitters at the park speaking about this divisive election. So it is important to have a strategy to keep a mindful home. Let’s focus on the gift of this election—it provides a wonderful opportunity to practice mindfulness.
1. Express your own feelings about this election cycle using feeling words. For example: “It makes me sad to hear people call someone bad names.” Then you can say to your child, “Name calling is something we would never do in this house. We are going to focus on the positive in people and never say anything that would hurt someone else.”
2. Assure the child this constant negativity is not the world we live in. Maybe even find some good stories about people helping people or people helping animals. What we focus on grows, so finding some positive stories in the media, or on social media, will help them see the world as a positive place.
3. Help them to choose love over fear. We can either operate from a place of love or fear. Teach them to practice picturing their hearts and asking their heart what to do in the situation. Their heart will always guide them to speak and act in a loving way.
4. Model non-judgment. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. Show your child how you can have a passionate discussion about a subject that means a lot to you. Without judgment. For example, when speaking with someone who supports a different candidate than you say, “I hear you and value your opinion and this is how I feel.” Modeling this behavior will help them learn one of the most valuable practices that they can do in their adult lives.
5. Practice peace and love breath. Sitting on the floor, open your arms out to the side as you breathe deeply. Breathing in peace. Bring your hands back to your heart, breathing out love to everyone in the world. Do this several times. Breathe in peace to my toes, and breathe out love to every child to the world. This is an amazing opportunity to teach the child no matter what’s going on with the world we all have the ability to connect to peace inside of us.
And remember, often times, things have a way of working out to be just as they should be. Use this campaign as an opportunity to put a positive spin on things, knowing that no matter who wins, we are all on this path together. The universe has a plan, and it’s a good one. It may not feel like it, but whoever wins is exactly as it’s suppose to be. Have faith that the universe has your back.
Author: Kathy Walsh
Image: Instagram @elephantjournal; author’s own
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina