It may have been our first really adult, intellectual conversation. So it was a historical moment for my 12-yeard old and I, as well.
Whether you love Hillary Clinton or not, or you have no opinion at all, she’s made history. She’s officially the first woman to ever say to a US party, ‘I accept your nomination for President of the United States.’ Honestly, I almost cried. And I was so, so glad my daughter was beside me. (Who was far from bored, because the DNC is like theatre at its best, it’s such good television.)
I can honestly say I choked up numerous times, as my daughter and I watched this historical moment. My daughter found it fascinating that Chelsea Clinton could potentially have two parents who have been presidents. (Yeah, her father and I are hard workers but we’re not THAT ambitious. Sorry, dear!)
Right before Hillary spoke, I said to my daughter, ‘Everyone who has a vagina should be watching this.’ And I truly believed that, even as my daughter looked mortified with my choice of words.
Hillary possesses many of the qualities I want my daughter to grow up with, no matter what your political leanings. Many children, or pre-teens, or even teenagers these days don’t even know that she’s the first woman Presidential Candidate. Perhaps they don’t care, but it’s our job as parents to teach our children why certain times are historical moments and why we should be taking part in them and digesting them, even if it’s as simple as watching the television.
Then again, our children are also growing up in a world, where, in their eyes, it is now entirely normal for a woman to be running for President. My daughter goes to an all girl’s school, and, admittedly, lives a pretty privileged life, and doesn’t really understand how this was one more step towards gender equality. She already thinks that, ‘anything boys can do, girls can do better!’ She really had no idea how important this night was until I explained it to her. In her eyes, she thought, ‘why is it such a biggie that a girl could be President?’
And, really, even though that seems so utterly surprising it was also so magical to see the world from my 12 year-old’s eyes.
Even though, as Canadians, we can’t vote in the election, my daughter, after hearing Clinton speak, announced, ‘That President sounds really awesome.’ (Not yet, honey, but I’m glad you can form your own opinions. I am making her watch clips of The Republican National Convention, so, she, too, can form even more opinions, after asking so many questions about Trump.)
Sure, Hillary may not have Obama’s, or even her husband’s charisma, but as I continually (and, annoyingly) reminded my daughter, who’s school motto is, ‘Girls can do anything,’ Hilary is intelligent, competent, ambitious, and a hard worker. How could she not be a role model for our girls, because, YES, we DO live in a world where a woman can lead a major party into an election in one of the most powerful nations on Earth!
My daughter has been obsessed with Barack Obama for years, not that she quite understands how American politics work (and, also, doesn’t work.) But she understands the importance and historic nature of growing up with the first African American President of the United States.
‘Mommy,’ she told me. ‘Did you know his first name means ‘blessing’?’
The three nights my daughter and I watched the DNC together will also become a time in her life I, as her mother, will never forget.
She was allowed to stay up late to watch the broadcast (and even the commentary afterwards) and we continued our ‘adult-like’ discussions well into the night. It was a very grown up moment, for a child who still sleeps with her security stuffed animal. We debated the issues, discussing minimum wage, affordable health care in the states, student debt, climate change (my daughter wants to be a physicist, so she liked that Hillary believes in ‘science’.) and, yes, gun control.
This is NOT about my political leanings (I’ve told my daughter that a person’s vote is private, and I don’t share with anyone whom I vote for when it comes to our Canadian elections.)
If you watched with your daughters, (and hopefully your sons) they should know it is not only about the presidential race, it’s about our daughters and sons knowing, that yes, girls can do anything. Our kids should grow up just…living this, where it’s completely normal that a woman has the option to be a world leader. And, again, on a personal note, they were nights I’ll forever remember watching with my daughter. We can’t wait for the debates!