Kids at Caucus - Teaching about Politics
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