The pitch of the political discourse in our nation is at an all time high. In an attempt to contribute our voices to the conversation, we join matches, sign petitions, attend town halls, and engage in conversations both on and offline. While these are all elements of responsible citizenship, our homes and the discussions we have or not have with our children should be of the most concern to us. After all, that is where we can make the most impactful contribution.
Like you, as a parent, I cant help but worry about what our kids might face as they go out into the world everyday to live their own lives. However, no matter what they encounter outside the home, I am learning that we all have a chance in the time we spend together as a family to provide much needed context, perspective and leadership to them.
Provide context by having healthy age appropriate discussions about race, immigration, disability, gender identity and other sensitive topics. Be their sounding board; help them sort through all the noise and come to their own conclusions. Don’t assume your 2nd grader is too young for some of these topics. You might be surprised about how much content they pick up outside your home.
Provide perspective by creating clear values for your family that provide a useful lens to view these issues. However, be sure to help your child understand that there are many other valid perspectives and that it is not only ok for people to have different views, those views should be respected.
Provide leadership by actively filtering your child’s environment for content or people that are unhealthy and unreasonable for their age and level of maturity. One of the best gifts you can give you child is to create an environment where they can be truly children without the overwhelming pressure to grow up too fast.