As a mother of three and grandmother of nine, I would like to speak to the behavior of children, and I do so with the experience of nearly forty years of family life.
When raising my kids, I tried to teach them to be good people. I taught them the ground rules for being a decent member of society and how to function as a valuable human being. I share some of those lessons here with an eye to our soon to be new President in the hopes that he may think through some of his recent actions. One of the very basic lessons I taught my children was also the very simplest:
Be Kind-Always. There is never, ever a reason to be mean, nasty, underhanded, rude or cruel. Ever. It is perfectly acceptable to get upset, even angry because we are human and those are certainly valid emotions. But even in our most distressing times, being mean to another person is unacceptable. There are ways to convey disappointment, anger, or hurt in a civil manner. Because one is angry or hurt does not excuse lashing out or retaliation in an attempt to “get even” or hurt another. I was taught, and passed on to them, the adage that you attract more butterflies with flowers than with weeds.
Be Humble because no one likes a know-it-all. I raised smart kids. All three excelled in school and all have at least a four-year degree. They have all married well and have wonderful marriages to amazing people. They all have many, many reasons to be proud of themselves…instead, they are all very service minded and seek not to gain praise for themselves but to help others. All involve themselves in multiple volunteer endeavors and are dedicated to their families. None of them seek recognition for the things they do for others…they just do it. And they don’t view themselves as extraordinary people…just as people trying to do their best. They leave the bragging to me…I am very proud of the people they have become and the choices they have made for themselves.
Be Grateful for all with which God has Blessed you. Nothing in life is free…except the love and blessings of a loving God. Each of my children has a deep and abiding love of God and gratitude for all that He has provided them in their lives. They are thankful and remember to give thanks for every simple thing in their lives. They are careful to not take these things for granted and thus enjoy the bounty of life even in times of stress or hardship. This is such a valuable lesson and gift.
I have been reading, like everyone else, some of Donald Trump’s recent tweets. Part of me is incredibly sad that somehow, in his upbringing and life of privilege and wealth, he clearly was not taught any of these simple things that are so very important to any child. I wonder if he ever felt the love and caring from a parent that wants to raise a good person versus a successful person. I fear that in Trump’s childhood, success was measured by deeds or bank accounts rather than valued for the simple worth of a soul. I believe this is why he is the narcissist he is today and why he is so emotionally unstable. I find that profoundly sad. Another side of me feels a certain amount of fear for the future of our country.
When a man like Donald Trump, a narcissist, and emotionally immature adult, is incapable of regulating his impulses to lash out in anger or disappointment, the power of the President is dangerous in his hands. Throughout his campaign and since his election, he has shown a total disregard for truth or decorum. He is behaving, not like a toddler as some are suggesting, but like a rebellious teenager. Remember that time in life where one feels like they are eighteen and bullet-proof? Like they know everything there is to know about life and they can do no wrong? That moment in time when actions and consequences seem to have absolutely no connection? Yeah. I think that Mr. Trump may be stuck in that mentality. An almost eighteen-year-old American male. I believe most of us can agree that this is, broadly speaking, the most dangerous of our species. The most reckless, the least able to control impulses, the most likely to do something incredibly stupid. And that is what scares me. This is the person who will be the leader of the free world.
So, at this point, if it was possible to stand in as Donald Trump’s mother, I would say this: Turn over your phone. You have been irresponsible with Twitter and until you can apologize to the people you’ve hurt, you don’t get your phone back. You no longer get to go to Mar-a-Lago to play with your friends. When you tell lies, you lose privileges. No golf, no fancy dinners, no flying off to Florida in your private plane until you apologize for lying and learn, to tell the truth. And finally, Donald, you are grounded. Because you have been given everything in life. Every possible chance, every possible advantage and now, even the Office of The Presidency of The United States of America. And yet, you are ungrateful. You are acting like a spoiled child. You are grounded until you can appreciate the gravity of your situation and act accordingly and apologize for your outrageous behavior.
So, maybe I’ll never be a mother of the year, but, by golly, I would bet than any one of my kids ( or grandkids for that matter) was raised better and would behave better than this self-absorbed, failed adolescent in chief.