This week, my family did something in unison that we hadn’t done before. We all voted. It was the first opportunity for our teen to mark an ‘’x” adding to the voices of millions as we seek to elect the government officials who will make decisions on our behalf in the next few years.
Nurturing responsible participation
As parents, we are gifted with the task of seeking to raise our children to become responsible adults. There are many skills required to do so from basic housekeeping, to problem solving, to money-management, to participation in society. It is not uncommon for young people to ask their parents advice about job interviews, education programming and relationships. These may shape and form some of the conversations we have over the years. Our children expect us to know things and, hopefully, value our advice for a long time.
Sharing our views
To what extent do our conversations also include our attitudes about the policies and practices of our governments? When the minimum wage was raised at the beginning of the year, did we share our feelings in front of our children? Do we talk about the potential trade war and its impact on Canadian families? Have we expressed our opinions about legislation to reduce climate change?
For a long time people were taught not to talk about politics or religion. Perhaps this unwillingness to share our views has contributed to poor voter turnout and declining church attendance.
In our home, we don’t shy away from political conversation. Policy and practices are continually discussed through the lens of our beliefs and ethics. We don’t always agree but we do listen to each other. As a result, our teen has been looking forward to voting since the age of 12. In fact, as teachers encourage those who are 18 to get out and vote, our kid tells them to focus on everyone else. Tonight our teenager is keen to watch the results, understanding that whatever happens will have implications for all people in Ontario.
What about you?
Do you talk politics in front of your children? With you children? To what extent has the election been discussed in your home? What have you done to encourage your children to vote? What tools have you nurtured in them to help them explore the platforms and their implications for your family and others? Do you have children interested in voting?
Thrive! A living manual for families uses the tools of social media and food and fellowship to facilitate conversation about the blessings and challenges of being family today. Check out http://stpaulstrinity.org/?page_id=2100 for more information or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ThriveFamiliesManual/