It’s been a while since I’ve wrote something. I’ve been feeling a little drained lately, and I’m sure it’s a combination of many things. However, I would be lying if I didn’t blame a little piece of it on the current political climate. Especially the election that is looming over our heads.
Don’t worry, this isn’t really a political post. Anyone who knows me, follows me on any social media, or basically stands within earshot of me knows where I stand. This blog isn’t a forum for that, so I will try to be as unbiased as I can. There are plenty of well written (and less well written) articles from strong political minds on the election already. I’m more concerned about another side effect of this election. It’s how we are treating each other, and the behavior we are modeling for our kids.
For the most part, we are all behaving horribly. Obviously this does not really include everyone, but it definitely encompasses at sizable portion. I’m not claiming innocence on this either. I have said things, posted things, and spoken about people in extremely negative ways based on their political views. The fact is this election has made us act in ways we would normally never act to each other. More so than I have seen in past elections… and our kids are watching.
They may not hear every comment you make, but kids pick up a lot more than we tend to give them credit for. If they can’t understand everything you say, they can still pick out parts of it. They can also sense a tone in the house, and a constant negativity is dangerous. There are several problems with kids only hearing this mean spirited, and generally one-sided dialogue (since let’s face it, most houses are pretty one-sided in this election… there isn’t a ton of middle ground).
First, it shapes our kids views in a very lopsided way. Now, our kids are generally going to pick up our values, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, we don’t want to push them so far in one direction that they can’t consider any other point of view (this goes for most topics, sometimes a concrete answer is the only reasonable one). If we portray all other views as unequivocally false, we are doing them a disservice. This may mean there are certain topics in the future you disagree on, but that is far preferable to raising kids who will not question anything.
Second, and more importantly, we need to set an example for our kids on how to deal with people you don’t agree with. Disagreements with others can be minor, or extreme, but they will occur frequently in life. Furthermore, not only will they happen, you won’t be able to just ignore or shut out all the people you disagree with. You will have to work with them, exist with them, and many times they will be your friends.
Our kids need to know that discussion and compromise are what drives this world. This current circus is not a reasonable reflection of day to day life, and we need to be able to disagree like adults. This doesn’t mean not to stand our ground on important issues, or that our kids shouldn’t know what we think. It does mean we should at least be self aware of how we present those views, and how we portray others with conflicting views in front of our kids.
So as this election season winds down (and I promise, it will wind down), lets try to keep our actions in mind. At the very least, try and direct the outrage toward the candidates and not each other. Because just remember, when you wake up on November 9th, you will still know the same people you knew on November 8th. You will see them in the halls at work, family events, and some might even be your friends. So let’s try not to behave too badly. I’ll see if I can take my own advice.