Sunday, July 31, 2016

Teaching Tolerance During this Election Season

 By Deann Marin of Socrates Lantern



I don’t know about you, but this was the first political convention I’ve followed with interest and a great degree of concern.  We need to embrace our diversity, to look for the good in each other, and notice the positive things we see happening every day.  I was appalled by what I saw occur during the Republican convention. It was shocking to witness such divisiveness, hate, pessimism and fear mongering. Everything was dark and ominous.  Our country wasn’t built on that. It was built on faith, optimism, a genuine caring for each other and working together for the greater good. That is the American way!  We teach our children to be compassionate, to respect each other no matter their race, or religion, and to find something positive in everything and everyone. How can we expect them to believe us when they see a bully running for president, an individual who has no respect for women, disabled people, minority groups, immigrants, even experienced judges, let alone heroic veterans and those in the military who have dedicated their lives to serving our country and protecting our freedom.

What if this irresponsible, inexperienced, bigoted person, whose only accomplishment is enriching himself while cheating and taking advantage of others less powerful, were to become leader of the free world? Will he stop and erode all the hard fought progress made by honest, hard working champions for our way of life?

So how do you respond when a young person asks, “Why is this bully running for president, I’m afraid of him,” or “Why doesn’t he like Mexicans, is he going to send us back to Mexico? We have to let our kids know that just because he has succeeded at something, doesn’t mean he’s someone to follow or vote for.  That freedom of speech is part of our constitution and the law of the land allowing anyone to exercise it freely. Sadly, has taken advantage of this.

Let your kids know that anger is a normal emotion, sometimes we all feel this way. The main goal is to allow one  to express his/her feelings and not to keep them bottled up inside.  We need to let them know that sometimes people say hurtful things when they are frightened, unhappy, immature, and jealous of those who have been successful in their lives. Bullies often feel threatened by the accomplishments of others so they lash out.


1. Parents and/or teachers should ask questions and listen to what the kids have to say.
  Here are some tips.
· Ask what they think about the presidential nominees
· Who are the candidates?
· What kind of people are the candidates?
· What are some of the things they’ve been talking about?
· Who would you vote for and why?



2. Express how you feel and give clear reasons why. This will help children learn coping skills when they feel unhappy, angry and fearful. These actions will aid them in understanding that they have choices, are connected and empowered.
· This is an opportunity to hold a discussion about differences of opinion, how to debate respectfully, and how to fight for a cause. Create various scenarios that they can role play.
· Use historical events to help make sense out of what is happening today. Spend classroom time talking about current events on a daily basis. Do not try to sway their opinion with your own.
· Parents should also join in with a statement of how they feel about the election.
· They could do the following with their children, view anti-racial speeches. attend a rally, write a letter to the candidate, take their child to vote with them.
3.  Last, but not least, allow the children to speak freely about anything that is
    on their mind. Be honest and sincere when answering their questions.

The way influential adults act and talk about women, immigrants and each other is important. It is the basis for how our kids view the government, society and relationships. If this negativity continues, it will change our world for the worse and we don’t want to go to a place that we will never be able to return from. As adults, it is our responsibility to say what is on our mind, to let our voices be heard by voting, and to be role models for our charges.

I have strong feelings this election season, and I hope that I haven't offended anyone with this post.  Thanks for reading....
Deann


http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/healthy_kids/How-do-you-talk-to-your-kids-about-Trump.html
http://time.com/4263213/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-donald-trump/
http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/how-to-talk-with-your-kids-about-donald-trump-20160415


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This is part of our August Teacher Talk, so head on over to the other posts to see the tips/ideas from all of our educators.





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