It’s just a few days shy of November 8, 2016. The Presidential Election is on everyone’s mind. While you’ve most likely made up your mind about who will get your vote this year, it’s not stopping your social media friends, mainstream media, or political bloggers from doing their best to influence you in the direction they deem most appropriate. Whatever issues they find to be buzzworthy, important, or morally damning, they’re doing their part to be heard.
In the midst of this heated debate, where has the media, the candidates, even your own friends and family left the youngest members of our society? Every election means something to our families. Every candidate offers a lesson, good or bad. Every issue is a talking point to bring your family closer together. To discover where and why each other stands where they do. Do your kids, even the ones not yet old enough to vote, have something to say about all of this?
Channel One News hosted the country’s largest mock election this year. It was a mock election because they asked only those too young to vote to have a say. They even had eight of these young Americans share their opinions throughout the election. Their evolving opinion. Meaning, they payed attention, they listened, internalized, and then openly communicated their thoughts.
Kids are easily persuaded and influenced. They follow the lead of those in charge and their lives are shaped by the things they see, hear, and do. Team OneVote from this mock election tackled issues like: gun control, foreign policy, climate change, and equal pay for women. Pretty heavy stuff for kids. This year’s mock election has spoken and Hillary Clinton won by a 47 to 41 percent vote. There were still 12 percent of kids voting “Other.” You can see how your local school voted and even find some resources that are helpful in building excitement and teaching kids the ropes of a Presidential Election.
Parents have found it difficult to discuss some of the more controversial topics brought up in this election: bullying, sexual assault, deportation of family members, and more. Teachers are fielding questions from students. Kids are talking amongst themselves and taking direction from parents and other adults around them. A recent interview with ABC’s Michael Strahan talked to a group of kids who explained the behavior of these two candidates and how they’ve been treating each other. Words like attack, yelling, and “not respecting each other” preceded a comment around not even shaking hands and “acting like kids.”
There are a lot of different things that are affecting our families this election season. Major issues like minimum wage, pay equality, childcare, healthcare, education, and student debt. Your vote matters and the younger generations, the ones who will truly grow in the environment created by this election, have a voice and deserve to be heard. Take a few moments to listen and do your part to have their voice heard as well. Talk to your kids. Debate. Hold a mock election at home. See where it takes you.