I’m going to be honest with you: the last thing I want to do right now is talk or even think about the upcoming election. This election cycle has brought up more name-calling, hate, and fear than any election I can remember. I am very thankful to live in a country where we the people have the freedom to vote and choose our own leadership. Democracy is a gift. My children have gone with me to vote and I tell them about this privilege each time an election happens. I want them to appreciate our democracy, but this year they are also hearing the ugly side of politics and asking a lot of questions. In the midst of all the negative news and chatter, you might join me in asking, how do we talk about the upcoming election with our kids?
There is already too much hate associated with this election. Please don’t add to it by passing it on to your children. When a student came up to me at Wednesday night church services and remarked about a certain politician “hating Christians,” I knew this didn’t come into his head on his own. We will not improve the current state of our country by speaking words of hate about others. I don’t want you to lie to your children, but sharing a negative tone about this election is not honoring to our country and to our leaders.
They are always listening, aren’t they? The child I referenced above may have just heard the comment he shared in a conversation between his parents or other adults, but he still heard it and passed it along. Our words are powerful, so we must use them carefully. Our children don’t have to hear our every thought about the politicians running for office. If you don’t know how to answer a question your children ask in an appropriate way (that you wouldn’t mind them sharing with others), please say “I don’t know” or “I’d rather not answer that.” We don’t need to involve our kids in the fight before they are ready to defend our words.
When the election topic comes up and I feel like I can’t say anything nice, I listen to my kids’ questions and ask them to pray. Someone will end up being the next President of our country or senator from our state and those people need our prayers, whether we like them or not. Our country needs prayer. And our focus needs to stay with these two passages of Scripture throughout the election and in the aftermath:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Romans 13:1
Younger children may not ask questions about the election, but you can still lead them in praying for our country by introducing the topic with a book, such as God Bless Our Country. It’s the perfect board book for those little ones around the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Veterans’ Day, and the election. Teaching them to pray for our country starting now is one of the best things we can do as we are raising them to be caring citizens who make a difference for Jesus. We all could use more of His light to shine through the darkness and division that has happened as the election draws nearer. We can be His light here in the United States and pass that light onto our children if we speak words of life and lead our family in prayer for this country.
How are you talking with your kids about the election this year?