As the November elections get closer, there has been some very interesting political discussions around our dinner table. It’s a known fact that my husband is a political junkie. He eats, drinks, and speaks the stuff of which good partisanship is made. I, on the other hand, hide from most political discussions. I know what I believe, what issues are important to me, and the worldview from which I base my opinion on what (or who) is right or wrong for our country.
Do our kids even care about this stuff? Should I be concerned about HOW to talk to them about this upcoming election?
If your house is anything like mine, there has been at least one TV tuned into the Republican and Democratic Conventions during the last week and a half. I remember being a kid in the 70’s during the convention processes. To me it meant nothing would be on TV for about two weeks! Of course I’m remembering the days before cable and Netflix. My parents didn’t bring me into their political discussions, although I do remember them talking about things like Watergate, the gasoline shortage, and the American hostages in Iran. The first time I learned what was actually happening at one of the Presidential conventions, I was going into the 8th grade. It was 1980, and Ronald Reagan was being nominated. It was the first time I remember taking the time to actually listen to what a candidate was saying.
Kids today are surrounded by so much media, and so much of our media speaks about political, moral and social issues – issues with which we Christians may or may not agree. It might be a good idea to bring the kids in on some of this election information, so that they aren’t learning about it from an outside source who might skew philosophies against that of our Biblical worldview. As persuasive as society, social media and music lyrics can be, we must always remind our kids to filter would-be truths through God’s Word.
Depending on how young you child is, you can start by talking about the two political parties, using the animal mascots of each, and then explaining what general philosophies set these two groups apart. My son’s third grade class recently had to discuss the elephant and donkey mascots of the two main parties in his class, along with the history of each party.
Discuss the men running for the Presidency and their running mates. Were they senators, governors, soldiers, or private business people? Why do they think they’d make a good President? What ideologies would they bring with them into this very important office?
The challenge for many of us is to approach this very personal issue, and do it in a way that displays respect for both sides running. Our kids need to see that we live out what we teach them, and that is to love and pray for even those with whom we find no common ground.
To understand and share with your kids the real election process, you may need a little refresher course. I did! Whether that means turning to School House Rock (“I’m Going to Send Your Vote to College”) or the multitude of online sites that give great tutorials about how the election works, we can share with our kids the process of how our votes count. One site that I found especially helpful in reminding me how the electoral process works is www.usa.gov. They have great area that helps kids learn about the election process, too!
I guess the biggest lesson we can give our kids during this election season, is that of seeing us praying for our country, our current leaders and those who are running for office, no matter their party affiliation. Watching out for the negative words that come out of our mouth, especially in retort to something that is so important to us! Remembering to trust that God is in complete control, and putting our faith and hope in Him.
Have you talked to your kids about the election? What tips can you share with us?
About the Author: Lisa Strnad is a weekly contributing writer to What’s in the Bible? and Jelly Telly. She works freelance in Christian Media, specializing in writing, promotions and marketing. Lisa lives with her husband and their two sons in Nashville, TN. Follow her personal blog: www.talkinglikeagirl.blogspot.com