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I wonder often how my daughter will be accepted. With today one of the most important moments in the proud history of the United States, the world will change no matter who is elected.

And how will my daughter fare in it? Will she be embraced by others, be a leader herself, be savvy enough to negotiate the subtle turns and terms of friendships and relationships with teachers, fellow students, counselors, and, later on, with her colleagues at work?

How do my husband and I prepare her to be strong enough to stand up for herself without pumpkin-on-a-ponyhaving a chip on her shoulder, to be quietly determined, to be aware but not to drive herself bonkers by overthinking? How can I gently guide her, even soothe her when she is rejected by people with whom she wants to be friends, so she can still move forward and believe in herself — and be open to those who reach out and become true fellow wanderers in the labyrinth we navigate every day?!

Well, confidence is as important as any skill needed to make it through a maze! It propels one forward in a marathon when the finish line is miles beyond sight or just around the corner. It gives a needed boost for an audition, for taking a test, for interacting with classmates and playmates.

So much of confidence is rooted in a solid foundation of hard work and faith, but also feeling included and loved.

My daughter is blessed this year to be in a class where she is embraced, is even popular! Her teachers and classmates don’t think, “Wow, aren’t we great to be helping her?” She is more than holding her own, mainstreamed, accepted and celebrated.

It takes my breath away when Ellen’s friends run up to her day after day in all kinds of settings, when she’s included in their conversations, their playground huddles, their drawings. She’s making it!

My hope is that after the election today, the labyrinth that is life will be guided by leaders who create decent paths for everyone.

 

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