Friday, March 30, 2012

Raising Responsible Citizens

We are so blessed to live in a country where we have the right to elect our leaders.

Along with the privilege to vote for our leaders, comes a responsibility to stay informed and research the candidates and political issues.

My girls have watched some of the Presidential debates with me - both during this election and the last Presidential election.  We talk about the issues at the dinner table or just in our daily conversation; politics is something that is often discussed when our extended family gets together.  We have taken the time to explain the electoral process to the girls.

I want to raise my girls to be informed decision makers.  I want to raise them to take the privilege of voting seriously.  I want to raise them to have opinions and to stand by their convictions.  I want to raise them to make their own political decisions and not to be swayed by my negative or positive view of a candidate.

My girls know who the candidates are and they know some of the issues, but we decided to take it one step further.  I created a Presidential Candidate survey and each girl picked a candidate to research.  The survey includes background information on the candidates, such as their family life, education and early career.  It also includes questions about their political offices held and their positions on issues.

So far the girls have completed their research and are eager to tell us about they are learning about the candidates.  We have discussed their findings as a family.  We are trying really hard NOT to influence their decisions because we are interested to see what they will come up with on their own, but so far they are not sure who they would vote for...but they are able to discuss some of the issues like mature, informed citizens.

I did consider waiting until closer to the election for this, but decided to have them start this project now so that they are informed on the candidates as we follow the electoral process.  Since beginning this exercise, I have seen my girls engage adults in conversations about the candidates and inform them of certain background factors in the candidates' lives.  I have also seen them more interested in the outcome of the primaries in different states.

I am including a link to the Presidential Survey that I created, feel free to view it or use it with your children.

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 Mustard Seeds