So the kids and I were on our way back home from dropping off some ordered items on Saturday morning when we stopped at a traffic light.
Y’all know elections are round the corner here in Nigeria, so expectedly there are different pictures of different suave looking gentlemen flung in our faces regardless of our political orientation.
Typical of election seasons, we have lately been bombarded constantly with signs, banners, stickers, numerous ads for different political candidates all over the city. We turn the radio and TV on and it’s the same story all over…promises upon promises, from healthcare to economy to insurgency to education.
We cannot expect our minds not to be influenced or affected by all the media blitz, try as we may and the same goes for our children too – regardless of the age.
Just last week, we saw a car branded for a political candidate in Lagos State and my boy went…”I wish we can paint our car with the pictures of Dr Ebele Goodluck…”
”I love him…”
”That’s good but we don’t have to splash his image on our car for you to show your ‘love’…”
No way my boy.
As I was
saying writing, we currently have different shapes and shades of posters all around town and we happen to come upon one of such as we stopped at the traffic light.
”Mummy, why are they putting up this man’s picture everywhere?”
”Because ‘they’ want everyone to see him and vote for him”. (Of course I had to explain what ‘vote’ means)
”Because he wants to become the next Governor of Lagos State”
”But I love Babatunde Fashola, why do they want someone else to be the governor?” (Kids really do love freely, don’t they?)
”Because Babatunde Fashola has been there for a long time and someone else must step into the office”
”That’s the way it works. So that other
competent good people can also rule the state and take care of the people. And also because nothing lasts forever”
”I want daddy to become the governor then”
”Because he is my daddy..”
”That’s not a good enough reason, D. Why not other people’s daddy too?”
”Other people’s daddies can become Governor after daddy”
”You know it takes a lot to become a Governor or President”.
”Ok. So, what should the person that wants to be governor do?”
”The person must belong to a party, he must be a good and honest man that can take care of everybody, provide jobs for people and make education available to every child.”
”Ehn ehn…I told you…daddy can be the governor because he is a doctor and can take care of everybody…and because he has money to pay my school fees. He is a good man and takes us to parties.” (Not that kind of money and party, my boy)
”Daps, But daddy is not a politician and doesn’t have the necessary experience. I’m sure he also does not want to become governor”
”Then I will tell him”.
”It involves a lot of work, traveling all over the state to talk to people’ so that they can like you and your plans enough to vote for you’.
”I will help him with his work so that he can be the governor”
And it went on and on…endless ‘political’ bantering which my non-political-mummy-mind tried as best as I could to manage.
When their curiosity or interest is aroused, ain’t no stopping them.
The whole episode seriously got me thinking.
When do you think is the best time / age to start discussing politics with children?
Though I had no form of preparation prior to Saturday because I never imagined they’d be interested in stuffs like this ‘early’ but I would say discussion should be as early as they start showing interest or as early as they can understand what goes on around them.
I don’t believe there’s a ‘one-way’ approach to this, but how best can we go about the discussion as parents without unnecessarily burdening their young minds?
I believe we can let them know what we believe and ask them what they think or feel. I told my boy a lot of people may not share his love for Dr Ebele Goodluck Jonathan due to the very serious problems we have been having in the country. His ‘opinion’ differs from mine even though he wants the Chibok girls back home, safe and sound.
Hey, but that’s okay for his level and I don’t have to force what I think or what I think he should believe on him. I can only guide his thoughts.
Children should be helped to develop their own opinions and to be expressive even where politics is concerned.
Sometimes we may get carried away in our strong stand and feelings about very touchy issues that we risk being negative. So…
- Always keep it short and simple…per question / answer.
- Try and keep it positive, always. Do not allow your strong feelings for or against any particular candidate (dis)color your discussion.
- Do not talk dirty about a candidate or malign personalities in the guise of ‘selling’ your position as it may send a wrong signal to your little one.
- Always use the opportunity to teach..a little about virtues and leadership
- Always be truthful and objective in your assessment
- If they are old enough to be involved, explain to them how their choice can make a difference
- You may want to give them a feel of Elections and how to vote by mock-voting on little decisions like what to have for dinner, etc
- You may also want to take it further by having them talk for a few seconds on why they like a particular food or person.
So, what do you think about the tips above? You have any tip to add or any point you do not agree with?
How best can we teach our children about politics?
Would love to read your take on this in the comments section.
Do have a super-blessed week.