Par­ent­ing 911

Kids at Cau­cus - Teach­ing about Pol­i­tics

Serve Daily - - LIBERTY SHALL BE MAINTAINED - By Trudy Peck

Dear Mother­goose, Last night I took my Boy Scout son to the po­lit­i­cal cau­cus. It was a re­quire­ment for a merit badge or other­wise he might not have cho­sen to come. Sur­pris­ingly, as the night went along, he paid at­ten­tion and got ex­cited and wanted to speak up and par­tic­i­pate. I think he be­gan to re­al­ize that it is his world we were dis­cussing – his school, his chil­dren, his tech­nol­ogy – and the de­ci­sions we were fac­ing will af­fect him di­rectly as well as his fu­ture. I just wanted to put in a plug for par­ents to teach their chil­dren how to be an ac­tive part of their fu­ture and the po­lit­i­cal process is part of that.

We tend to think of pol­i­tics as an adult game and of­ten un­der­es­ti­mate both our chil­dren’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties and their in­ter­est. When pre­sented with mo­ti­va­tion to at­tend, my son was able to learn what it was “all about” and re­al­ized that it wasn’t just a bunch of grown- ups talk­ing bor­ing stuff. If there is a motto I’d like to share, it is that, “If you ex­pect a child to step up, then they will! Ex­pect them to per­form at a higher level and that is just what they will do!” I would love to see our chil­dren more in­cluded in the pol­i­tics of our day. Af­ter all, it is their world we are af­fect­ing. - Mother of Eight in Payson

Dear Mother of Eight, Thank you for bring­ing to our at­ten­tion the re­minder that our chil­dren can be so much more than they might an­tic­i­pate. When we give our chil­dren ex­pe­ri­ences out­side of the class­room, out­side of the home, out there in the “real world” they make con­nec­tions, they put the pieces to­gether and fig­ure out that de­ci­sions made when people meet, even­tu­ally make the world they live in change. It is so im­por­tant to help our chil­dren re­al­ize that, if some­body doesn’t speak up, mat­ters will de­te­ri­o­rate rather than im­prove. So­ci­ety is ever chang­ing and we must con­tin­u­ally learn and con­tinue to do what it takes to move our world along in a di­rec­tion that will ben­e­fit our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

When you talk of mak­ing laws lim­it­ing class size and your thir­teen- year- old re­mem­bers not be­ing able to get the teacher’s at­ten­tion be­cause she was busy with so many other stu­dents, this is when he can sit up and take no­tice and say, “Yeah! I want to have enough teach­ers to go around so that when I have a ques­tion, I can ask it!” When you dis­cuss whether we can do away with day­light sav­ings time, your son can say, “Right! I hate hav­ing to get up at a time my body is not used to and try to think in class.” Our chil­dren can make con­nec­tions with the world they live in and they do have the right to share those ideas and ex­pect to be heard. Par­ents, in­volve your chil­dren in your civic ac­tiv­i­ties. Dis­cuss them at home, take your chil­dren along. Ask for their opin­ions and lis­ten to their ideas.

I loved be­ing able to visit the Utah State Capi­tol and see our lo­cal Se­na­tor, Diedre Hen­der­son at work on the Se­nate floor with her chil­dren seated be­side her as their class­mates looked on. Now, there is a sight to warm the heart, a par­ent with the hands- on ap­proach to teach­ing her chil­dren how pol­i­tics works in the real, live world! I also ap­pre­ci­ated that the leg­isla­tive body it­self was so wel­com­ing of our youth who at­tended that day. Not only Se­na­tor Hen­der­son’s chil­dren but most of the stu­dents who at­tended got a turn to sit on the Se­nate floor and get a feel for what it was like. And again, Mother of Eight, thank you for bring­ing your son to the cau­cus, for be­ing an in­volved par­ent and for shar­ing your thoughts with Mother­goose!

If you have other ques­tions or ideas about how to help your chil­dren ex­pe­ri­ence real life, con­tact moth­er­goose911@ ya­hoo.com

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