Adults love “teachable moments.” We have all had a question arise that provides the perfect opportunity to create a learning moment. Tuesday’s elections offer that. They give us a chance to shift from the “should” to the “power” of exercising our right to vote.
We want active and civic-minded youth. Knowing the topics and candidates (and voting when able) helps them see their part in a democracy. Of course, the U.S. democratic system is less than perfect. But let’s choose to raise informed teens who look at the issues and make decisions. These are empowering life values.
Washington State has been in the national spotlight these past few years with big topics on the ballot. Help your teen see that our voting can be influencing the whole country.
Key concepts you might want your teen to come away with:
- When they turn 18 teens have the opportunity to begin voting
- Initiatives (and referenda) begin with people’s interest; when we see signatures being gathered outside a grocery store, those are early steps to an issue earning a place on the ballot
- There will always be two (or more) sides to an issue: research pros and cons
- More ads means more money behind an issue: look at who is for and against an issue
To capture this moment, parents can use the hot issue, I-522 on GMO labeling. Our students toured Theo’s organic, fair trade chocolate factory on Halloween. Theos had a pro I-522 sign on their door. As we learned more about what Theos stood for, what Theos believes about the initiative is significant.
Let your teen be a sleuth on key issues and candidates that are important to you, your neighborhood, your faith community, etc. This week is filled with teachable moments…go for it!