• liveblesstravel

Please, Stop the Election Talk with Your Children


Parents who have elementary age and younger children -- let's have a little heart-to-heart. Step back for a minute and think about what you are saying to your child and more importantly what you are saying when your child is around (even when you think they aren't listening) about the upcoming election.

The other day we were playing and watching football, there was no deep conversation going on when I saw my son go over to his uncle and say, “We're doomed!” With a confused look my brother looked back at him and asked, “Why?” My son replied with, “If Trump becomes President, we're doomed. If Hillary becomes President, we're doomed.” I had a big pause. Where was he hearing these things? My husband and I have been careful about not discussing the election in front of our boys. However, we haven't been perfect about it. What had we said to make him feel like we would be doomed? So I entered the conversation he had started with his uncle and said, “Where have you heard that?” He replied in a very matter-of-fact way, “Neither one of them is a good choice and we are doomed. Everyone is talking about it.” Well, I knew we weren't talking about it in front of him, so who was? Please stop talking about the election around your elementary aged child. Please don't let others, including their school, have these conversations either. Protect your children.

We've had a lot of conversation in our home since then regarding this. We made the focus about our family being loving, and our home being safe no matter who is elected. We didn't talk about candidates specifically in these discussions, we talked about our day to day activities and decisions and how the current President doesn't influence whether we go to basketball practice or piano lessons all while balancing the history of our country and that these freedoms were given to us long ago and upheld still today. It has given us opportunity to discuss how the United States President does not hold all the power. We had a mini-lesson on checks and balances and how new laws are made. (Now, I know that anyone could become the ruler of the free world and try to yank freedoms away from us. Yet, I am not sharing that with my elementary school son who needs to feel safe during this election. I also believe in the greater whole of America and the process of our three branches of government.) We continued our conversation about how decisions we make to be kind to one another and love others doesn't come from the United States President, these decisions come from our heart. It gave great discussion on how we can change the world through love. Please stop talking about the election around your elementary aged child. Please don't let others, including their school, have these conversations either. Protect your children.

I've also encountered other examples from kids throughout the entire election process. I was bringing home an elementary aged student from school. There were various conversations going on in the backseat when I heard this child say, “Don't vote for Trump or else I will be sent away.” He was talking to my son, so I kept listening. My son replied in question, “Why? You won't be able to get over the wall?” {First of all, who was telling my son about this wall? Was school discussing it with them? If so, was it a non-bias discussion or was it one sided? I want to know these things. I'm all about teaching both sides of things in school, but were both side being taught?} The child replies, “Yes because I am part Mexican.” His response sounded sad; I couldn't help but join in. I said to the child, “Weren't you born in California?” He replies, “Yes,” Then I used my most assuring voice by saying, “You were born in California. You are an American. You aren't going to be sent away. You are safe.” He sounded relieved. He sounded like he needed to hear he was safe. Not for a minute do I believe any adult told him he was going to be sent away. Yet, something was said about a wall and exporting immigrants, and maybe even someone quoted Trump in front of him. I don't know what was said, but this child was sad about it. Please stop talking about the election around your elementary aged child. Please don't let others, including their school, have these conversations either. Protect your children.

My son's class was to watch all of the debates. I wouldn't allow it. What good will it do a 5th grader who has no voice in the election to watch grown ups argue while not addressing real issues? I took this assignment back to the teacher and let her know how uncomfortable I was with it. I asked if my son could research the issues on each candidates' website. The teacher was amazing about my request and said she respected it in full. I actually feel my son learned more about the issues of this election through this online research than he would have if he had watched the debate. (As a note, the teacher dissolved this assignment to the class after the first debate.) Please stop talking about the election around your elementary aged child. Please don't let others, including their school have these conversations either. Protect your children.

I heard a third grade girl at my children's school say to a classmate, “My dad says everyone should vote for Hillary, so the world will know women are as good as men.” My hope is that these were not the words used to the child. Yet, this is how she internalized whatever was said to her and now she is sharing that with a classmate. As a woman, I do agree things could be better with equality. But I also believe that instilling the idea that the President of the United States is the one that will show the world women are equal is an insane belief. You know where values such as, “women are as good as men” come from? THE HOME! Instill these values in your own children – whether they are boys or girls – and we will each be making the difference in our world, one home at a time. Based on this girls' comment, does this mean that if Hillary isn't elected President, then the world won't know that women are as good as men? I don't want to live in a world where that is true; the President doesn't define who we are as people willing to see each other as equal. When this girl wakes up on November 9th and someone tells her a man will be the new President, will she feel she isn't as good as the boys and men she encounters? What message are we sending? Please stop talking about the election around your elementary aged child. Please don't let others, including their school, have these conversations either. Protect your children.

On November 9th, our elementary school children will wake up and ask who the new President of the United States will be, especially those on the east coast as they will most likely be in bed before a decision is announced on Tuesday night. When they wake up and head off to school Wednesday morning, they need to know they aren't doomed. They need to know they are safe. They need to know they are protected and will continued to be educated. They need to know they are equal. When they hear that the candidate you hate is the new President, they need to know it's going to be okay. (I wish they didn't know you hated a candidate, but I feel this message is too late for that.) They need to know the candidate you love is the new President and not everyone is as excited as you are. They need to know there are different opinions yet private ballot is a privilege in our country. Children need to know that no one voted for the wrong candidate, rather the hope is that people made an educated vote based on their beliefs for America. Focus with your children on the privilege adults have to vote and they do their civic duty when they went to vote. Please stop talking about the election around your elementary aged child. Please don't let others, including their school have these conversations either. Protect your children.

Let's talk to our children about what is good in the world. Let's focus on loving others. Let's work on our internal groups so our children can have a ripple effect to the bigger world. Let's allow our children know about the three branches of government. Let's make sure we are protecting our children through this election. Only one week to go and I know we can focus on a good civics lesson and a lesson on loving others, not the dislike for the candidates you see on the ballot.