In October of 2016 I picked up my children one day from school and my son says, “Daddy, who are you going to vote for?”
I remember looking at him with an expression of concern. “Why do you want to know?”
“Because my teacher said everyone should vote for Clinton.”
I immediately felt a flash of anger. Not because I dislike Hillary Clinton, but because I believe it is vital for children to come to their own conclusions and hear unbiased perspectives, especially from educators. I do not think that any teacher or principal has a right to try and sway my children one way or the other with politics. I have no problem with them unbiasedly discussing what the political platforms are, and why they (politicians) choose different platforms, but the children should be allowed to come to their own conclusion regarding their own political views.
I got down at eye level with my son and gently grabbed his shoulders, “Son, I will vote for who I feel is the correct person to put into office as the President. Your teacher will do the same, and one day, when you’re old enough – you too will choose the person that you feel is the correct person. Voting is a very personal thing. It is our right granted to us by those who founded our country. Three things you should never discuss until you understand what you are talking about are religion, politics, and money. They are all very personal things, and everyone has a right to believe what they want to believe without it being ridiculed or forced down their throat.”
There is “education,” and then there is “influence.” Influencing causes children to go home and question their parent’s choices that they have spent a lifetime establishing. I’m not saying that a child questioning (or developing their own beliefs) is terrible. What I am saying is that their questioning should not be due to outside manipulation.
It is a parent’s job to teach children about faith (or lack of), political views (both sides – preferably without pushing one or the other), finances and what is right or wrong with regards to sexual preference especially since a parent’s faith can lead this. I can honestly say that any parent that doesn’t teach these things are doing a disservice to their children. A child needs to have the foundation they are raised with and needs to be objectively taught each of these views to be a well-rounded member of society.
I believe it can be handled unbiasedly as follows:
You can explain the liberal platforms, the desire for social programs, their belief in how healthcare should be managed and civil rights – Then you can explain the conservative platforms and how faith sculpts some of their views and how they feel about various political issues.
An educator can explain something without injecting their own personal views. Yes, I know it can be difficult – especially when dealing with children who are curious and want to know their teacher’s views. But there is wanting to know, and needing to know, and I do not feel they need to know. At least not in the classroom environment.
In the meantime, as a parent, I will do my best to try and educate my children on the platforms, what people are hoping for and what people (and myself) want in leaders and world issues. I hope that you as parents will do the same.
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