I have learned some valuable life lessons over my 53 years, but few as powerful as the ones I’ve learned today… from my granddaughter, Madison.

So, here’s a bit of the backstory.

Madison is 9 (and a half, as I was recently corrected by her). She is a very intelligent, compassionate, curious, little critical thinker who was introduced to the word ‘pussy’ by Donald Trump during the election cycle. She now knows that it is a grown-up word, that it refers to the most private part of her body, and most importantly, that no one is allowed to grab it. She has been deeply affected by the decision that the grown-ups in the country she lives in decided to make him the President.

Her parents talked with her about the Women’s March and why they were going to participate (see Brittany Stone’s Medium post today). Madison made the choice to go with them. They prepared her so she would know that this would be different than anything she had experienced before, including probably seeing and hearing grown-up words. She also knew that protesting is one of the freedoms that US citizens have and an opportunity to peaceably make their voices heard.

I met them at the March with my pink and purple Mardi Gras beads (pink for women and purple because that’s what the suffragettes wore to symbolize dignity), purple socks, in a skirt (because it was comfortable), and carrying my sign that said, “Pussy? How about lioness! #hearusroar”

Madison understands that my sign was not about vulgarity, but instead about taking a grown-up word used about our body part and reclaiming it. She knows that the lioness in her Mimi is standing up and risking being judged because I want her world to be better than it is today.

I have family members with deeply passionate opinions on different ends of the political spectrum. While my being there with my granddaughter and carrying that sign was viewed as strong, educational, and inspiring to some; it was hurtful, embarrassing, and shocking to others. We can be quick to make assumptions and hesitant to discuss them with each other because we don’t want to damage our relationships. I’m pretty sure there are some of us (myself included) who are tightly clenching onto our beliefs and trying not to ‘unfriend’ each other. But, even through our disagreements, we are “thick as thieves” because…. we’re family.

What I learned

It is healthy to talk about our differences, and its very challenging. I already knew this, but it was a vivid reminder. Most importantly, I learned that my granddaughter is watching, listening, and learning from me at all times and I have to trust my heart and discernment about how to navigate the world she is inheriting.

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