A letter to my son, post-election

Dear Brady,

Yesterday, your mama woke up really, really early (even before you), put on her shoes and went up the street to the little church on the corner. See, it was election day and Mommy got to fill out a piece of paper filling in bubbles next to the names of people she’d like to run our country and make big decisions that will affect her, your Daddy and even you. In fact, their decisions will impact our whole country – everyone who lives here. It’s pretty awesome that Mommy and Daddy are allowed to do that — to VOTE and help shape our country. There are lots of people in the world who don’t have the freedom to do that. The United States is pretty neat.

But see, sometimes, even though their votes are important, the people Mommy and Daddy choose don’t win. And Mommy and Daddy don’t get their way. You know… like when you want to eat the cookies before they go in the oven or when you don’t want to get out of the bathtub but Mommy takes you out to go and get you dressed.

I’m writing you this little letter to tell you about something so important… respect. See, sometimes when things don’t go our way, it’s easy to make a fuss and say things that hurt other people. But God asks us to respect “authorities” who govern us and pray that they make good decisions. So in our family, that’s what we do. We shake their hands (just like you’ll learn one day when your tee-ball team loses a game) and show them respect. Even when we’re sad or angry, we treat others the way we’d like to be treated. It’s called the Golden Rule.

Because, see, we live in a pretty amazing country. Every grown up who is a citizen of our country has the FREEDOM to vote and make their voice heard. There are a lot of men and women who leave their families to go and protect our rights (like that one). When you are a grown up, you’ll be able to vote too. And the neatest part is… those men who we voted on yesterday, they are so brave. Even if we don’t agree with them, they are very strong and brave men. I hope you learn a lot from both of them. I hope you learn that people matter, that our country is incredible and that no matter what God is still in control.

And if your team doesn’t win, I hope you shake the other guy’s hand. I hope you pray hard and that you do good work and give lots of LOVE to make change. I hope that you watch the way these brave men live their lives and decide how you want to live yours. I hope that you remember President Obama and Governor Romney and see how two little boys (just like you!) grew up with big dreams to create change and to help people.

In four years, you will be almost six years old. And when we elect another President, Mommy’s going to take you with her to vote and you’ll get to see her make her voice heard. And even if our team doesn’t win again, you and Mommy and Daddy will still show LOVE and RESPECT to the other team. Because after all, little man, we are one nation, under God and that’s really what matters. No matter what happens or who wins or what we disagree with. FAITH, HOPE and LOVE are what remain. And the greatest of these is love (1 Cor 13). It’s our job now to give lots of it away.




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  1. Melissa Oholendt commented:

    One of the best things I’ve seen all morning. Love you and your heart and your heart for respect, love, God and that little man. xo

  2. Carolyn Baier commented:

    Emily, thank you so much for this post. You truly are an inspiration in your teachings to not only Brady but your blog readers and followers. Your positive attitude is so contagious and it is so wonderful to see someone rise above it all and show trust and respect. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  3. Tracy commented:


  4. Victoria commented:

    This is truly beautiful. Thank you for sharing this sweet little note from your heart. You are such a beautiful woman and mama. I am so glad to have you in my life!! :) God bless your sweet family!

  5. Chandra Verbic commented:

    Emily, this is beautiful. I hope to say the same thing to Lincoln one day. You’re amazing. Thank you! xo

    • emily commented:

      Thanks, Chandra… big hugs to you and Lincoln. I’m excited for today : ) Had so much fun learning all about the work you’re doing yesterday. You’re incredible.

  6. Geomyra Lewis commented:

    And this post reaffirms why you are loved and respected so much! Well written and much needed.

    • emily commented:

      Love you so much, G. Was just thinking about you yesterday. Hope you are doing so well!!

  7. Carlee Sizemore commented:

    Love this Emily! In a world full of negativity – where it’s so easy to fire off a hateful email, tweet or comment – it’s so important to teach our children (and sometimes mommy and daddy) the practice of restraint, kindness and understanding. Even when we don’t quite understand. Looking forward to teaching Porter these life lessons and taking him to the polls in 2016.

    • emily commented:

      Love you and Porter, C. Sometimes as a boy-mama, I feel this unbelievable responsibility to teach him to be a man of God. To have the “man-card” like Bryan and I say and be a protector, provider, respectful… etc. I know you know the feeling. xo

  8. Nancy commented:

    God Bless America! Thank you for sharing this letter, it would be lovely if everyone shared this centiment. You are an amaxing Mom :)

  9. Mandy V commented:

    Beautiful. God truly is in control.

  10. StacieBee commented:

    Wonderful words! Thank you so much for sharing <3

  11. Beautiful and so very well said. So glad that Brady will have you to learn this from! :)

    • emily commented:

      Thank you so much, Lauren! I miss you. One of these days we’re gonna get that coffee!!

  12. Andy Mc. commented:

    this is great! thanks Emily.

  13. Natalie Norton commented:

    My heart is on fire. I woke up in the middle of the night. . . in Cardon’s bed. (Snuggles do me in.) As felt my way down the hall to my room, I checked my phone to see what time it was. There was a text on the screen from my mom expressing her disappointment over Romney’s loss. I laid awake for the next couple of hours worrying over our country, worrying over social issues and financials and international relations. . . all these big, bad things that my kids are going to have to face head on (Raleigh, in just 9 short years). I finally said a prayer and found peace and soon after, sleep. Your words are perfect Emily. God is totally in charge. I really do believe in obeying the laws of the land and honoring my leaders (I believe that God wants that from us), and sometimes I forget that whether said leaders are willing to acknowledge it or not, we ARE one nation under GOD. He’s in charge. Thank you for this reminder.

    Brady boy is so lucky you’re his momma. I’m so lucky my kids have an Auntie like YOU. I’m going to read this to them when they get home from school and show them what real grace (and patriotism) looks like.

    • emily commented:

      I love you. This makes me smile inside and out. I love all four of those little boys so much.

    • Natalie Norton commented:

      Raleigh walked in the door from school grumbling about President Obama, “I can’t believe we have to live through another 4 years!” yadda, yadda. It’s really hilarious, because Richie and I hardly ever talk politics—like almost never. Everything he’s saying, he’s picking up from other kids at school. It’s crazy how into political discussion he has been the last two days. It’s evidence of just how charged things have been on the play ground. Ha ha! Anyway, I wanted you to know that I sat him down and read him this. He was really quiet, he listened to every word, and then he quietly said, “OK, Mom. . . but I still don’t like him.” Ha ha ha! Oh Raleigh. . . Love you, Em.

  14. kelsy mccartney commented:

    this is absolutely perfect! so well written :)

    • emily commented:

      Thank you so much, Kelsy!! I hope you guys are doing really well!! xo

  15. Caitlin Sullivan commented:

    I love you, Emily Ley! :)

  16. Lisa commented:

    This is so beautifully written. It’s hard not to feel defeated today, but when it comes down to it, the most important thing is that we pray for our leaders, no matter who they are. Thank you for the wonderful reminder :)

  17. Liz commented:

    Fair and balanced post Emily – if only either side could make that legitimate claim :) As someone who voted for the first time yesterday as an official citizen of this country, it reminded me (more so than voting in my home country) of the value and importance of voting and the freedom we have to do that. It would be great if all the adults could play nicely now.
    P.S: To be light hearted about this for second, there was something incredibly cool about walking into a booth with the cute red, white, and blue striped curtains! :)

    • emily commented:

      Liz!! How cool that yesterday was your first vote! That’s really cool. I think it’s neat too to walk into the booth with the striped curtains. Makes me feel so patriotic and proud to be an American : )

  18. This is beautiful, Emily. It’s been so disheartening to see so many people up in arms and all doom-and-gloom about our country’s future. I think many are forgetting that God is in control. The outcome of this election wasn’t an accident– it didn’t slip through the cracks– it is part of God’s plan, and we are called to trust in that plan and in Him. Praying that we can all learn to exemplify the love and respect for one another that you speak of in this post. xo

  19. tlroberts@cox.net commented:

    This is a beautiful letter. Thank you for sharing it. I found it from a post that a friend put on her FB page. What a beautiful way to share with your precious child and with the rest of us. Strong and much needed words. God bless you!

  20. emily commented:

    Thanks, Jess! I totally agree. xoxo Emily

  21. Mackenzie commented:

    Emily, this is perfect. I needed to hear this this morning and every word you wrote fed my heart. I am so thankful for a God who is Sovereign, that it is still His world when the votes come in. I pray that I may act with love and respect today and always, thank you for reminding me to love others. Period. Thank you!

  22. Kathie commented:

    Really awesome letter, Jess! Your little boy is lucky to have such a smart and sensitive Mommy! God Bless You & Your Family!

  23. Lara commented:

    I love you. Amen.

  24. Kelly commented:

    AMEN!!!! What a wonderful way to explain this to sweet Brady. I hope to one day be as eloquent with my {future} children as you!

  25. Well said. It’s so easy to feel disappointed and angry when things don’t go as you hoped. I think I needed to read this as much as Brady!

  26. Brit commented:

    Thank you for posting this. Rather than name calling and pointing fingers, today is the day that we should all be coming together as a nation for the greater good. Regardless of who we voted for. And, it’s incredibly important that we teach grace, compassion and humbleness to our next generation. And, help them understand the importance of living in a country where we are ALLOWED to have our own opinions. But, that we also must respect the opinions of others.

  27. Emily Steffen commented:

    SO THANKFUL for such a strong and amazing post like this………this needs to be read across the nation on the TODAY SHOW and CBS and NBC and every stinkin’ network! Seriously, Em……..so amazing! I am so thankful for strong and amazing Mom’s like you as a role model to me! :)

  28. Erin Davenport commented:

    So well written – sums up my feelings today. Thank you for being a wonderful and public example :) XOXO

  29. Lisa Holcomb commented:

    So touched, moved and inspired by this wonderful message! With mom’s like this shaping the hearts and minds of the next generation, one can take great hope in the idea that, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world!”

  30. This is so sweet, it actually brought tears to my eyes. Very well said Emily and so true. I wish all parents would be spreading love regardless of our differences. This world would be a much better place.

  31. Anna Margaret commented:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful letter today. It was so refreshing to read words from the heart, rather than quick hurtful remarks. Our world certainly needs to share more love and respect. God bless!!

  32. jessica sands commented:

    THANK YOU for taking these words from your heart and putting them out here for everyone to read!

  33. Victoria commented:

    This is beautiful! Thank you!

  34. Lauren commented:

    What a perfectly written post! Thank you so much for sharing!! Regardless of who won, the best thing to do now is pray for God’s guidance for our leaders.

    I hope you don’t mind, but I shared a link to this post on my blog. Thank you!

  35. Madelyn commented:

    Great post, Emily. Love your heart.

  36. Sara B commented:

    This was so wonderful Emily! So thankful to have read this today. Thank you for the perspective and for spreading love and grace. We need lots more of it in this world. xo

  37. Erin commented:

    Reading this makes me realize how easy it is to let disappointment turn into anger; but you’re so right there is no need to turn displaced emotions into harmful actions. Thank You for this beautiful reminder. (on a day that I needed it as well) :)

  38. Amber J commented:

    Very well written reminders. I do believe this letter is going viral today! Thank you so much for sharing something so simple, yet so profound. May you be greatly blessed!

  39. Shefy Lindsey commented:

    Simply beautiful, Emily! What a graceful letter! xoxoxo

  40. Kristi Van Der Merwe commented:

    this is so beautiful, Em. Thanks for sharing!!

  41. Chelsea commented:

    You are the quintessential example of a role model for your son and other mothers, like myself. Your son is so fortunate to have a mommy like you to teach him, guide him & love him! Many blessings to you, your husband and Brady Ley!

  42. Tabitha commented:

    This is great, and I hope your son reads this over and over and over when he’s old enough to do so. Parents don’t seem to teach their kids this enough, nor do they lead by example and to know there’s at least one mother out there who is willing to teach this Golden Rule makes me feel better about the world.

    I grew up in a society that taught this same rule, and that’s to respect your leaders and elected officials and to support them so they do their job properly. Disrespect gets us nowhere. Being a sore loser certainly isn’t a strong point either so THANK YOU.

    This is something even adults need to read and remember.

  43. WONderful!!!!!!!!!!! And encouraging, too. I’m going to be sharing this.

  44. Gina commented:

    LOVE your heart and face and words and letters and child and bathtub. The end.

  45. Megan Losito commented:

    Beautiful letter! Amidst all the negative and nasty posts, this post was this beautiful light. I am so glad you wrote this today. I hope I can teach my children the same thing.

  46. Mari Darr~Welch commented:

    Very classy! And a very mature way of looking a things. I wish the other million “adults” on Facebook had this attitude. The unabashed hate I have seen today scares me for our children’s future. I am glad you are stepping out and making a positive point!
    Nicely done!

  47. Candi commented:

    One word… BRAVO! Much respect to you for this eloquent letter!

  48. Katherine commented:

    I hope this spreads like a wild fire among the people. Way to say what is in so many of our hearts. One nation under god no matter who is the commander and chief . He is the leader of our country and deserves the respect. God is the leader of our hearts. God bless you and your family.

  49. Julie commented:

    Emily, I only know you through your blog and website but I have become a regular follower because of the things I have read. You always have such grace, love and intelligence in your words. Thank you for saying so eloquently to your son, what many of us adults needed to be reminded also. Brady is a very blessed little boy to have you for his mama :)

  50. Tiffany Adam commented:

    Perfect! Thank you!

  51. Amy Romano commented:

    Morning friend!! Wish I read this yesterday. I was so turned off from all the negativity from both sides, losers were angry and mean while the winners gloated in triumph while putting the other side down.

    Sweet reminder of what really matters. So let’s just say a prayer that Brady & Lily will continue to live in the land of the free when they become older….and that they hold themselves ‘to a standard of grace’ in every situation.

    LOVE you and your beautiful words.

  52. Jean commented:

    Such a great thing to tell your son, may we all learn and grow without hatred and animosity. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.

  53. Kimber-Leigh commented:

    this was beautifully written…and will be a treasure for your son one day. we had a similar conversation with our three young children yesterday. :) thank you for sharing these words.

  54. Dawn Sisson commented:

    What a sweet letter and so true! I am a conservative Christian who truly was sad when I woke up yesterday morning and saw the results. I still am – however – I know who holds everything in HIS hands and I have a HOPE for a future not of this world.
    Romans 13:1-8
    New Living Translation (NLT)
    Respect for Authority

  55. Melanie commented:

    Thank you for the gentle reminder.

  56. STEVE commented:

    Wonderful explanation and particularly that you would explain this to your child. Sorry that all (I think) of the responses are from females… perhaps you might also present your good news to your husbands and boyfriends. Our world needs intelligence of this nature and I thank you for writing this piece for all of us. God bless you.

  57. Pingback: This Week for Dinner – Weekly Meal Plans, Dinner Ideas, Recipes and More!: {Food for Thought Friday} All You Need is Love

  58. jane maynard commented:

    I LOVE THIS POST. I linked to it today in my own post. I think you are still more eloquent, so I had to share your beautiful message. thank you. http://thisweekfordinner.com/2012/11/09/food-for-thought-friday-all-you-need-is-love/

  59. Eileen Mullen commented:

    Emily, What a very good posting.

  60. Deb Flowers commented:

    Beautifully written and your message, from one proud voter (no matter who either of us voted for) to another, made me tear up. Thank you for reminding me that respect is alive and well in the hearts of most passionate, proud Americans.

  61. Sydney Lovejoy commented:

    Hi Emily,
    Prior to this letter I had never read your blog before. A friend of mine reposted this particular letter on Facebook and I fell in love with it. I absolutely love your blog and the items that you sell. This particular post was so moving to me and I do not think it could have been said any more eloquently. I respect you so much for posting this and could not agree more. After reading this letter my outlook on the way the election turned out was so much more positive. Your adorable son is so lucky to have you and will love reading this letter some day. I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future. Thank you for writing such a wonderful letter.

  62. John commented:

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