The media coverage of the presidential election only happens every 4 years so I wanted to talk a bit about voting.  One of the most special characteristics of our country is the right to vote.  Regardless or your political party affiliation, voting is an amazing right that many American’s (women, minorities) had to fight hard for. Even though people under age 18 can’t vote, that doesn’t mean they won’t live with the consequences of this year’s election.

It’s my opinion that children and teens should know a bit about politics. After all, we learn how the government works in elementary school.  Laws that are passed don’t just affect adults, they affect everyone living in our country. If teens can understand why an issue is important and who it will affect, they’ll better informed to understand why a law on that issue may or may not be something they support.

Think about the last time you watched TV during an election year. Were there ads for politicians? What did those ads say? Had you heard of the politician/amendment/bill prior to the ad? Did you understand the issue? Did you agree with the ad? Teens are watching the same media storm of coverage that we see as adults. Next time a politician promotes their agenda on TV, take a moment to talk with your teen about the ad. Why do you agree or disagree with what the politician has to say? Is there something involved that speaks to your core values? How will the amendment/bill affect you and your family?

Teaching children and teens to be involved in their community and helping them understand the big issues in our country today will make them better citizens in the future. They will be informed; they won’t just look at an ad and believe what it says; they will consider how a politician supports or denies their core values.

I like programs like Kids Voting USA that offer opportunity for children and teens to be involved in the election. They make voting fun while at the same time acknowledging the importance of exercising our right to have an opinion that matters!