After Donald Trump’s upset win over Hillary Clinton, many parents faced the task of explaining the results of the election to their children. President Obama was one such parent who, apart from comforting his devastated White House staff, had to explain the president-elect’s victory and racial incidents to his daughters Malia and Sasha.

In an interview with the New Yorker, Obama talked about the advice he gave Sasha and Malia about the results and the post-election racial protests across the country. “What I say to them is that people are complicated,” Obama said.

“Societies and cultures are really complicated. … This is not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living organisms, and it’s messy. And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding,” he said.

Protests and the number of racially charged incidents were on the rise across the country after Hillary Clinton lost to Trump.

During Obama’s trip to Berlin, he encouraged people to remember the importance of voting. “What I would advise … is that elections matter, voting matters, organizing matters, being informed on the issues matter,” Obama said. “And what I consistently say to young people … do not take for granted our systems of government and our way of life.”

“I think there is a tendency, because we have lived in an era that has been largely stable and peaceful, where living standards have generally gone up … to assume that that’s always the case, and it’s not,” he added in his speech after his bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “Democracy is hard work.”

In the same vein, he advised his daughters that they “should anticipate that at any given moment there’s going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish. And it doesn’t stop. … You don’t get into a fetal position about it. You don’t start worrying about apocalypse. You say, OK, where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward.”

In the interview, Obama noted that the optimism that he’s shown in the last week after meeting President-elect Trump is not a facade. “Look, by dint of biography, by dint of experience, the basic optimism that I articulate and present publicly as president is real,” he said. “It’s what I teach my daughters. … I genuinely do not assume the worst, because I’ve seen the best so often.”

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