Exploit Current Events: Establish Political Awareness By Latasha Schraeder

The shut-down of the federal government, the unconventional actions of the 45th president of the United States and the women’s marches that took place across the country on the 20th of January are all part our current political climate. We are living in a time rich with political change and activism. Our children are witnessing history being made in real-time! It is our job as parents to activate their awareness.

Take advantage of the happenings around us. No textbook is necessary to teach our children authentic lessons about politics. In a time where Netflix, YouTube, and the X Box take priority during adolescents’ free time it is imperative we don’t allow our children to waste valuable learning opportunities. Watch or listen to world news with your children. I am not casting the use of television, the internet, and video games as a form of entertainment in a negative light. On the contrary. I believe downtime is a necessity. However, I am suggesting a balance.

The federal government shut down can lead to conversations about a variety of topics. You can discuss the role of our federal government with your children. The branches of the government: legislative, judicial and executive can be explored.

The presidency is also a broad topic. Have a conversation about the responsibilities of the president. Talk about how the election process works. Stress the importance of exercising the right to vote! It is never too early to speak of the rights we are afforded as citizens of the United States.

The women’s marches were a nationwide display of activism and the power of joining with like-minded individuals. Discuss the fact that such gatherings are not possible in some other countries. How fortunate we are to live in a country where the right to express our opinions without the fear of retribution is customary!

As a parent, I am cognizant of the fact parents are busy with work, running a household, extra-curricular activities, etc. Most of us have limited time. Utilizing current events as learning tools is a resourceful approach to political awareness. In fact, a formal lesson is not necessary or ideal. Simply start conversations with your children about what is happening in our world.

Be your child’s fiercest advocate.