- Posted October 18, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Shutdown over: What next?
What I Now Tell My Child
- dsashin, CNN iReport producer
Two weeks ago, I asked a question of Washington…that is, “What Do I Tell My Child about the government shutdown?” I know I wasn’t the first or last parent to have this question plague them over the past two weeks as so many of us have lived in a state of uncertainty, fear and stress that was ridiculous, unnecessary and unfair.
Since October 1, we have lived our lives as normally as possible while the government dangled us over a shark tank. With each day that passed, with each failed “deal”, with each new report of bickering between parties and more finger-pointing than anything, we worried about necessities like food, rent, gas and bills. No parent wants to tell their child that they won’t have those securities and children should not have to even wonder about such things.
You left my family dangling over a shark tank for far too long. You held us captive without a clue as to how the future would go, or how long it would take to resume some sense of normalcy. You caught us coming right off of the summer furlough and so we had to put as many back-up plans into place as possible so that we could keep food on the table.
What had I told my child during those days of tension? I told him that the fighting continued over “some things” that the government people didn’t agree on. And because they couldn’t “be nice” and work it out, everything had stopped, including Daddy’s job and paycheck.
But then a light at the end of the tunnel appeared…Daddy was called back to work with several other Federal Employees. And miraculously, he was paid a partial check for a few FY 13 days. It was something and we clung to it and have been since we had no idea how much longer you would leave us hanging.
I know we weren’t the only family to suffer during this mess. I followed several stories of families needing care, of soldiers, of veterans…the stories are numerous and they all add up to paint a picture of a government who quite simply, let their people down. You let me down. You let my husband down. And you let my children down.
But do you know what? Amidst the mess that you tried to make of our lives, I found something more important to tell my child than to continually report on your fighting and lack of peace that we saw daily on the news. What was more important? Simple. I told my child of the people who helped us.
Yes, we received an unexpected blessing during this time of tension and uncertainty. I remember the one day I read a card to my son that we had received. He wanted to know who sent it but we never did find out. When he asked me why they sent a card to us, I told him, “Because they care about us”.
I told my child that that is what we are supposed to do when people are hurting—to care for one another. I told my child that the government’s fighting had hurt us and that these nice people wanted to help us. Because of their kindness our hearts were overwhelmed with a reassurance that all would be well…somehow, and despite how long this shutdown would potentially last, there were still people who cared in the world. And we were so grateful to have them in our lives. I told my son that we were to help others who were hurting, just like these people had helped us. I will never forget this sweet and honest talk between us.
Keep an eye out some day for my sons. You’ll know them by their generous and loving hearts. You’ll know them by their compassion, kindness and respect for others and for differences. You’ll know them by their ability to know right from wrong and when insisting on “being right at the price of continually hurting others” becomes far too wrong. Some day my children will make an impact on this world that I know will be far brighter than the one you’ve left us to clean up and move on from.
This shutdown mess of yours may have left a good bit of the country knocked off of its feet, but we are strong. Take those sharks back with you. It’s time for the good people of this country to regain some peace in our lives.
You owe us all that.
And the next time you find yourselves fighting to the point of hurting the American people once again, consider sitting down with your children, grandchildren, a neighbor child. Ask them what the "right" thing to do is. My hope is that you might just learn something that you forgot along the way..."play nice", "treat others as you would like to be treated", "no fighting"...
Pick a lesson to learn. There are several to choose from and you might just find that you can start slowly earning back the respect and trust of the American people.
And as leaders of our country, isn't that something you should care about?