When you teach your children about politics, they may not appear to be paying attention, but they will probably remember more than you think. Young kids start to learn about political parties in school, and the information you share with them at home can help enrich their views and help them make a difference. Maybe you’ll explain why you are going to vote or wearing MAGA shirts. The conversations can help your children learn about the world they will contribute to in the future. Below are 15 teachable topics to help your child be a good citizen.
1. Whether voting is a right or a duty
The first thing to understand is that politics is not a game for Monday morning quarterbacks. The absolute least that democracy requires is that all responsible adults get acquainted with the topics and candidates before casting informed votes in each election. Maybe you’ve heard (or even spoken) some of the following:
- My vote makes no difference.
- It makes no difference who wins because the candidates are all the same.
- I’m not familiar with the candidates.
- All politicians are corrupt.
- I’m too preoccupied.
- I simply do not want to become engaged.
Excuses like these ones simply do not cut it. None of them are valid reasons to avoid doing your duty, having your voice heard, and voting.
2. Public service is a noble and dignified occupation
When you hear talk show hosts and comedians rail against government bureaucracy, keep in mind that many excellent people work for the government because they want to make this world a better place. Better now and into the future.
Not everyone in public service is well compensated. Many people also do not treat them kindly. When you encounter a government official who goes out of their way to assist you or be courteous, remember to thank them and express your appreciation. Everyone wants to feel valued, and government employees are no exception.
3. Never rely on the outcome of the next election for your future
That’s fine if you want to get involved in politics yourself. Just keep in mind that politics is a risky business. It’s difficult to tell that the outcome of an election will affect your mortgage or rent payment. Outside of politics, you need skills and contacts to ensure that you can sustain yourself if the political tide turns against you or your candidate.
You also need some funds in the bank. Why? So you won’t have to contact mom and dad to make your rent payment if you lose your job as a result of an election loss.
Financial security and political independence are intertwined. This relationship does not imply that wealthy people are always better candidates for public service. It does imply that officeholders who are not afraid of losing their jobs are more likely to do the right thing. That financial freedom allows officeholders to stick to their ideals even if it means losing reflection.
4. Children, to make a difference, you need to be involved in politics
You can’t refuse to participate in politics and then moan about how corrupt politics is. Who is left if nice folk refuse to get involved in politics?
If the situation can improve, it is your job to work to do so. The system can be enhanced. No matter how difficult fixing politics appears to be, the longest and most difficult path begins with a single step.
5. Gather information and create your own opinions
Never rely on others to think for you. You owe it to yourself to investigate the facts and form your own opinions. Don’t let gimmicks and slogans keep you from thinking through a problem and determining what solution is best for you and your community or country.
Just as you’ve learned not to believe every advertisement you hear, don’t believe everything a candidate says to you. Inquire about proof and what the opposing party claims.
Consider your options. Decide what you wholeheartedly believe in.
6. Teach children politics and the constitution
In the US, teach children the fundamentals of the Constitution. They must be familiar with the contents and comprehend how and why it was written.
Kids may learn more about politics and world views too at youth conferences. You might want to consider signing them up for a local event, based on their interests and aspirations.
7. Our political preferences are not religious
Politics does not bring spiritual nourishment, nor does a political affiliation necessarily indicate your relationship with God. The writer of the Declaration of Independence realized that the Creator, not the government, and not one political party, endowed us with fundamental rights.
8. Children, an open mind is not a political stance
Regardless of your politics, a closed mind can resist wisdom. Party affiliation has no bearing on openness to new ideas.
Instead, it is more of a spiritual condition to be open to growth and learning. Regardless of your politics, a narrow mind can resist wisdom.
9. Courtesy should take precedence over free expression
Kids must understand the importance of civility in political dialogue. It is possible to disagree while maintaining respect.
It is also possible to be incorrect while maintaining your integrity and to be correct while maintaining humility. This is when parental modeling comes into play.
10. It’s fine to be excited
America was formed from impassioned conflicts, has been nourished by heartfelt debate, and will continue to be strong because of, not despite, sometimes excessively exuberant differences of view. Today’s youngest generation needs to understand that it is acceptable to be passionate about their beliefs and to express them with zeal.
11. Children must have the ability to think for themselves
Too many people have abandoned critical thinking in favor of merely repeating others’ beliefs as their own. Not only is it inefficient, but also dangerous. The greatest threat to democracy is an uninformed voting public—and families.
12. Make sure politicians follow up with their promises
Nikita Khrushchev, a notable former Soviet Union politician, once observed, “Politicians are the same everywhere.” They vow to construct a bridge even if there is no river.”
When a politician makes a promise, pay attention. Consider whether the person promises to do what is right and good not only for you but also for your neighborhood and country. Inquire as to who must give up something for the politician to appease people to whom the promise is made.
One of the most wonderful aspects of the Connected States is that it is a country of people from many origins, religions, languages, and cultures who are united by a love for this land of immigrants, this land of opportunity. Be careful of politicians who promise that the government would always give you stuff without expecting anything in return. If something appears to be too good to be true, it usually is.
13. Listen to both sides
Teach your children to listen to both sides of the debate and to pay attention to those with whom they believe they will disagree. When obtaining information, they must understand how to develop many sources.
14. Handle good questions with the truth
If a child does not understand something, they should always ask questions to learn more. Good inquiries uncover the truth… or the deception. In any case, competent questioning is essential to a functioning political process.
15. People that oppose you are not un-American
You’ve probably met at least one person who believes that everyone should walk in unison (both in politics and in religion). Teach children that there’s still more to learn, that those who disagree with us are not always incorrect, and that narrow-mindedness leads to political oppression.
These are all important areas of politics for children to learn about. Some of them may be taught in school but not all. The dialogues you have as a family can help your kids form opinions that influence so many areas of their lives over the coming years.