Political Headaches

So, I’ve heard that the quickest way to lose friends is to talk about money, religion, or politics. So far on this blog I’m 2 for 3 on that. And today… I’m still going to leave money alone.

Anyone else already tired of the 2016 US presidential election? I know, it’s still 2015 and there’s a long way to go, yet. The only reason I bring it up is I’m already starting to watch Christians and others separate out into their different camps to prepare for the long siege that is election season. Sure, this is a grand old American tradition where we throw verbal grenades from one side toward another, slapping one another with insults while calling it “debating” or better yet “educating.”

Be aware that children do pick up these things. I’ve heard children criticize Presidents with some pretty harsh language. I have to come to one of two conclusions about that: either these are incredibly precocious children with a penchant for detailed political analysis or they’ve heard the phrase of the day at home and can now spout it loudly and proudly.

Fact: I have not agreed with every policy choice made over the past 15 years.

Other Fact: Critical thought and careful discussion are very different than gut-reaction and bile spewing.

Last Fact: Children often take on not only their parent’s religious views but their political views as well.

So, wouldn’t it be much better to state clearly why you disagree with an elected official rather than angrily repost a meme or share the latest angry post? Or let me ask it this way: would you rather hear your child thoughtfully and respectfully disagreeing with someone, or hear them name-calling and shouting others down?

Especially in this Internet age, it’s very easy to simply forget that the Facebook pictures and posts on the screen are attached to very real people with very real emotions. Teaching your children to respond to others with patience and respect will be crucial as they become more and more involved online. The Internet’s culture as it stands is one of hatred, misinformation, and cliques. Help your children learn good skill in thinking and responding by modeling those behaviors yourself.

And, hopefully, when my children or students run across this post later in life, they’ll say, “Yeah, he did that.”

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