It has been an interesting couple of days, watching the "aftermath" of the 2012 presidential election. The news media, print media, and social media (including the Sonlight Forums) have been rife with conversation, both positive and negative, about the outcome of this week's election. Many have spoken about the educational opportunities that present themselves in an election year. A good friend described letting her elementary aged children stay up late the evening of November 6th, watching the news, charting, and making their own predictions. One of our children voted for the first time in a national election this year. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting up Monday evening discussing candidates, issues, local proposals, etc... with a brand new voter.
All of this led me to think of another type of education that may be unique to this year's election. More than ever this year, the effect of media (especially social media) seems to have impacted the whole election experience. I wonder if we have invested as much time educating our children on how media exposure affects their perception of candidates and issues, as we have on the candidates and issues themselves?
This came to mind last week as I was reading an unrelated blog post that dealt with peer pressure ("Teaching Your Child About Peer Pressure"). The author made some excellent observations and suggestions, one of which dealt directly with the "peer pressure" that media exerts. Every time you turn on the TV, pick up a magazine, read a billboard, go on Facebook or Twitter, or surf the web there are people trying to get you to take the action they want you to take or think the way they want you to think. Many people don’t recognize these forces as peer pressure because they’ve become such an engrained part of our lives; however, the media greatly influences our ideas and choices. What a good reminder to educate our children not only on the issues, but how outside forces impact their perceptions and beliefs on those issues.
Another equally important comment from the same blog post dealt with the example we set as role models for our children. If your child sees you rush out to buy the latest fashion, stand in line for hours to land the latest gadget, or try the latest fad diet because everyone else on the block is singing its praises, she’s much more likely to fall prey to the same peer influences. Let your child see you making decisions based on what’s best for you and the situation, even when it’s not necessarily the popular choice. We could take that statement a bit further and include the example we set in our reactions to election results. How much better to have a fact-based conversation with our kids about what we see for the coming four years vs. a fear-based conversation that leaves them frightened and uncertain about their future. I have no idea the author's faith-leanings, but I am reminded that God is still on His throne, and what a wonderful example we set when we take our concerns about the future to Him! (God reigns above the nations, sitting on his holy throne. Ps 47:8)
Still on the journey ...
Sonlight Customer Champion