My in-laws, who are die-hard Georgia Southern fans, have a policy when it comes to football losses: You don't talk about them.
You ignore the TV coverage, you don't read the news. You stick your head in the sand, focus on the positive, appreciate the good in your life, and eventually, life will move on. When it comes to politics, their policy is much of the same. Married for more than 40 years, my in-laws rarely talk politics -- in fact, until recently, they never told each other who they voted for. To them, political talk isn't polite, especially around the dinner table.
It's times like these that I think they might be right. It's hard being a tiny blue dot in a very red state, and it was even harder waking up Wednesday after the election. A lot of voters -- 47.6 percent of Americans -- thought respect, experience and the traditional candidate would prevail.
Obviously, we were wrong.
But, I will not stick my head in the sand for the next four years, I cannot ignore the world around me because I've got three very big, yet little reasons: My children.
The image of my 7-year-old daughter's huge grin Tuesday as she inserted my ballot into the machine is still ingrained in my mind, the excitement in her voice as she asked me if the next president would be a woman like me. I also can't get rid of the image of her face Wednesday morning when she awoke and I told her that Hillary Clinton had lost -- the sadness and ache of defeat that I, too, share.
But it's because of my three children that I will not give up. I didn't vote for Donald Trump, but I've always respected the presidential office and will continue to do so. This election season has split the country -- as evidenced by the near equal split at the polls. But instead of focusing on what could have been or what should have been, instead of obsessing over something I cannot control, I'm going to focus on the positive. Our country needs to heal. It needs resolution. It needs to move on and focus on the future.
I only pray that the future is indeed positive and not punitive, and that hate does not continue to dominate American politics. We need politicians from both sides of the aisle to come together, now more than ever.
I may not agree with my neighbor or co-worker at the polls, but I still believe in the good in people. I've witnessed it first-hand after natural disasters, people doing everything they could to help strangers following Hurricane Katrina and the 2011 tornado that hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I've seen how the worst often brings out the best in society. My hope is not dead. I do believe that America will prevail.
To me, that hope is rooted in our youth. My vote last week may not matter much. The newly elected government -- both state and federal -- may not represent my voice or my views. But I'll continue to strive to raise my kids to accept all races, religions and people with disabilities. I hope to instill in them respect for those different than themselves and the decency to know that bullying and lying are wrong. I'll continue to teach them love and understanding, hope and forgiveness the best way I know how, by living it.
My future president may not reflect my ideals, but I will not let anger and resentment, even my own, win. Instead, I am hopeful for the future -- that America will prevail -- because of our children.
-- Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.