Should Kids Be Exposed To Politics?
My book, the Orangey-Tan parodies a certain current U.S. President in the storyline. Probably the most hotly debated topic on the Manimal Tales social media threads is whether kids should be exposed to politics or not.
My original plan was to write an essay expounding on my point of view on this topic, but in doing my research, I realized that the user comments on my threads actually covered all the arguments really well. So (especially now!), I thought it would be much better to hear the vox populi rather than just the I. Aren’t we all tired of egocentric, narcissistic people who think only in the first person anyway?
(Note: names have been intentionally blurred out to preserve privacy).
There are many people who think we shouldn’t be writing kid’s books that are political in nature.
I should say that while my book does parody the current U.S. President, it definitely is more a story about values and civics than about politics per se. The book talks to kids about a set of values that should be universal: to care for all people, however different they may be from you; to stand up for what you believe in, and to protest peacefully against those you disagree with.
Many people argue that we should steer children away from politics and related topics; they believe kids should just be kids and our job as adults is to preserve their innocence for as long as possible.
But there are some really good counterarguments:
To start with, kids are a lot smarter than most adults give them credit for. It is far better to have a kid that is well-informed than one that is kept willfully ignorant of the world.
As an example in a recent study of kids (5-11 years old) reactions to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, researchers discovered that 90% of participants knew details about at least one of the candidates (indicating they are exposed to information), but a quarter of them believed it was against the law for a woman to be a President (horrifying, but it speaks to the need to ensure they are well-informed early on).
A lot of parents agreed that it’s important to teach kids about basic values and simple tenets of democracy.
Some went further and stressed that it’s important for children to know how the Government works – or at least couldn’t understand why they shouldn’t.
The simplest and strongest argument for ensuring they are well-informed is because they have the strongest stake: what we do today has repercussions on all their tomorrows.
And isn’t our role as parents to actually teach them about everything (including politics) and better prepare them for life?
A key part of being a parent is to impart a value system to your kids. (This is something I personally believe very strongly). Your values are going to be based on your personal beliefs. How can they not be? In fact, one could argue that your politics is simply the public expression of your values.
All politics is personal (more so today than ever), and almost everything is political. So why is it OK to teach your kids about your faith and religion, but not your politics?
In this day and age, it’s almost impossible not to talk about politics with your kids. The Orangey-Tan has made the environment so toxic, and so much about himself, that whether you want to or not, you may well have to talk about politics, if only to draw a contrast between the values you believe in, and those that he tramples upon every day.
For those in a minority or marginalized, how can you not?
After all, not teaching them about politics may have caused the problem in the first place!
Can you imagine what life may have been like had perhaps more people actually done that in the first place? Sadly, we all can.
Hopefully, we won’t have to for much longer, and I can go back to writing non-political personalized children’s books!