( I don’t think this one will do much for my popularity or likability but it’s been on my mind for a while now…)
Scrolling through my variety of social media news feeds I can’t help but feel like parents and teachers alike are missing the boat on teaching our children a valuable lesson. I get completely that this election is very divisive. All Americans seem to be even more passionate and vocal this year about their candidate, the lack of good candidates, or the state of American politics. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is awesome for all of us to take an interest in the future of this country but my question is this…how are we teaching our children to treat people with differing view points.
I have friends on both sides of the aisle and it is eye opening to scroll through Facebook and see people from both parties name calling, sharing half truths, and throwing punches at people of different view points. This really came to light for me this semester at school as we began to have conflicts with children over this year’s election. From hurtful words to inappropriate polictical “cartoons” I can tell you with 100% certainty that our children are learning from the way we are handling this election. Our kids hear the things that are said at the dinner table, they see the posts on social media, and pay attention to the half truths said on the news and bring them right into the front doors of school daily. Perhaps this would be ok if they had the maturity to handle differences of opinion but in middle school it just hasn’t happened yet so instead it leads to a whole lot of drama in the hallways and classrooms.
It makes me nervous that we aren’t even down to two candidates yet and I already hear children picking at each other over what will happen when so and so is elected. As parents, teachers, and adults I believe this is our opportunity to teach our children how to talk about issues without throwing punches. We should be setting an example for our children in what we share on Facebook, what comments we make to others, and the way we frame our discussions at the dinner table. Let’s teach our children to be passionate and energetic about what they believe in without unnecessarily offending others. Let’s teach our children to be involved in the political process but also about how to handle it when it doesn’t go the way they wanted. Let’s teach our children that it’s ok to disagree without being disagreeable (Thanks Dr. Heersche for teaching me that)!
We’ve got a long time left in this election cycle. Someone will win and someone will lose. I get that this election matters and matters big but lets spend some time teaching our children about this process and how to handle it along the way. What example are you setting?