Years ago, “citizenship” was taught in elementary school. In the era of class-based standardized testing, such content has fallen by the wayside. Kids learn about elections from the media and random family commentary. The future of democracy depends on our children’s voting skills, and it is a skill that should be taught at home.
Here are six party-neutral traits to teach your children to use in evaluating our country’s leaders.
- Sacrificial Love of Country: Does the candidate have a record of military or public service?
- Even Temperament: Is the candidate able to disagree with another wihout engaging in personal attacks? If the candidate is a target of a personal attack, how does he or she respond?
- Representative of all Constituents: Does the candidate use language that unites or divides people?
- Wise: Is the candidate humble enough to consider others’ opinions, and smart enough to discern what is the best course?
- Communicator: Does the candidate use the leadership roles to engage with constituents as well as the international community? Does the candidate understand and use social media?
- Integrity: Does the candidate value commitment in his or her personal life? Has the candidate been consistent and honest in position statements? Does the candidate have a moral anchor such as a religious or civic affiliation?
Before going over these with your children, ask who they would vote for today, and why? Then model good citizenship by sharing your decision process and voting regularly.