It’s Tuesday morning on Election Day as I sit to write, and there is a lot I don’t know. I don’t know who the next president will be during the 2021-2024 term. I don’t know what VP is going to support, direct, and be on the ready should their leadership be needed. I don’t know which political party will control the House and Senate. I don’t know who will be appointing Supreme Court justices for the next few years. Odds are, you and your family will be glued to your TV tonight (Tuesday), staying up late to see vote tallies and the red/blue swings of the electoral college. There will be many sights to see on TV from people cheering, people weeping, acceptance speeches, defeat consolation speeches, and maybe even some protest footage. Some of the sights your family’s eyes feast on in the next few days may steal their joy and peace.
According to a report published that year by the American Psychological Association titled “Stress in America: The State of Our Nation,” about two-thirds of Americans, in 2017, said concern about the future of the country was a significant source of their stress more than money and work. The survey found a majority of people from both political parties were stressed about what it described as the “current social divisiveness.” I’m betting your family may be feeling that stress as well from a variety of sights they’ve seen this year leading up to the election and from the election day itself. To help alleviate that family stress, please allow me to share four post-election sights I think your family needs to see from you in the coming weeks.
(1) They need to see you holding firmly and calmly to your values, your traditions, and your identity. When the Cubs lost year after year, it was hard for people to want to stay loyal fans of the team. Then, when the Cubs won the World Series, in 2016, people jumped ships from other teams to jump on the winning Cubs bandwagon. In 2019, many fans have renounced that Cubs identity due to a mediocre record barely above 50 percent. Your family doesn’t need to see you ship-jumping just because your candidate/party/platform lost. You chose to vote that direction based on your values, your traditions, and your identity that you previously held before the election. Remember those intrinsic values on election night and the days afterward, and keep them as part of your stable core identity. Your family, especially kids, thrive in stable and predictable environments, especially in the home. Don’t be a flip-flopper, a reed blown around by the wind of change. Let your family see you hold firmly and calmly to your positive values and principles regardless of the outcome of the election.
(2) They need to see you treating the new president and vice president with respect, even if you disagree with them, otherwise, it may come back to bite you. When you belittle, degrade, and trash-talk a respected official in the land, especially the highest authority in our country, your kids will likely do the same to you and your authority later down the road. You can disagree with a presidential platform without being a disagreeable person. Don’t yell obscene names at the TV or mutter death threats as you stomp off. Rather, take Paul’s approach to authority when he lived under the evil rule of Roman Emperor Nero. “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-3. Pray for that president in high position and let your family see you do it. Better yet, pray together with them for the leadership of our country.
(3) They need to see you having hope that the world is not lost if your candidate did not win. I’ve lived long enough to know that Chicken Little was wrong. The sky is not falling. God is still in control. Remind your family of that on election night, regardless of who wins. You can even reassure them that He can use whoever is in office to bring about His good will. After all, didn’t he use all the evil brothers and evil circumstances in Joseph’s life to bring about the saving of people during a famine? Remember what Joseph said in Genesis, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” – Gen 50:20.
(4) Your family needs to see you loving your neighbor, regardless of how they voted or what sign they placed in their yard. That’s right, God didn’t say, “love your neighbor as yourself only if they vote donkey,” or “treat other people as you want to be treated if they are in the elephant party.” God said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:31.
Jesus lived in the midst of a country guided and divided by several different religious parties such as the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots. The crowds who showed up to Jesus’ teachings were often a mixed bag of each, but Jesus’ teachings of loving God and respecting authorities were the same regardless of belief and affiliation. Your family will see many sights over the next few days that may bring anxiety and stress to the household. If you want to build your Family Forte, then ask God to help you give them the sights of you holding calmly to your identity, respecting the office of president, hoping in a future guided by God, and loving your neighbor as yourself.