I am sure you’ve never been out in public with young children and been embarrassed by their behavior. Never, not you. Not your kids. But just…
We are living in some very “political” times (to put it lightly). Don’t worry, I have no intention of adding to the opinionated noise — other than to say: Parents, we have a great opportunity in front of us! Not necessarily to teach our kids what to think, but rather, how to think.
Realistically, if our kids are beyond the toddler years, they are already picking up on more politics than we know. But if we’re not careful, our kids will passionately get behind whatever political stance we take — without any wisdom or knowledge driving them. Of course, at first, this may seem fine and dandy, because we all think our position is the right one, and so our kids seem to be choosing the “right side”. However that’s only because we are their biggest influencers right now…one day we won’t be. And then, who are they going to follow?
The point is: Hopefully our grown children won’t be following us or anyone else. The goal isn’t even to get them to align themselves with a particular political party. Instead, we want our kids to become well trained to think for themselves — To think wisely, deeply, and most importantly, biblically. And we especially have this opportunity (at least to a heightened degree) every 4 years; So in that sense, our opportunities are somewhat limited. Thus, now is a great time to get started!
Communicate The “Why”
The best way to teach our kids how to think (about politics or any area of life) is to really talk through the issues, not just spout off our conclusions. We want our kids to see a Christian worldview in action. We want them to learn how to examine issues from multiple angles, and to know how to think through any biblical principles that apply.
If your children one day veer off and choose a different political route, they should at least know why you as a Christian saw an issue in a particular light, and they should certainly know when they are stepping outside of biblical boundaries on any given topic.
Perhaps it’s also good if our children learn that political choices are a bit messy. Politicians are sinful humans (like us), with a mixed bag of motives, and in all likelihood, no particular candidate will ever align with everything we think a Christian should stand for. Meaning, we shouldn’t teach our kids to devote their affection to specific politicians —rather let’s teach them to be well-informed, biblical-thinking citizens who make decisions accordingly.
Couple Passion with Prayer
If you care about politics enough to talk about it, hopefully you care enough to pray about it! And our kids need to see this, maybe most of all. It should be obvious that we are prayerful people far more than we are political people (even when the presidential election rolls around!).
1 Timothy 2:1-2 says,
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
That is what we should want (a society that allows us to live a godly life), and that is what we should do (pray for those in high positions).
How great it would be if the next generation came out of our homes faithfully praying for our nation and our government! That would be far better than them leaving our homes with a handful of political opinions and thoughts.
Temper Your Passion
While it’s good to be responsible citizens who care about the issues of the day, we must remember we have a more important citizenship. As Paul says in Philippians 3:20,
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In other words, that is where our hope lies — in heaven, where our Savior is. And thankfully, his leadership is perfect, and being under his rulership will be exactly what we’ve always longed for. There should be no doubt in our kids’ minds that this is what mom and dad are all about! Our lives, our passions, our conversations, and our priorities ought to make it obvious that our primary concerns are eternal, gospel-type matters, while political matters will always play second fiddle!
Train Your Future Voters!
During these tumultuous days filled with headlines, debates, articles, and decisions, it’s easy to get all wrapped up in politics. But don’t forget that amidst it all, littles eyes are watching and listening, and there is a lot they can learn from you. We are training the next generation of voters!
So yes, your vote counts, and you should take it seriously; but think how many more votes will stem from your wisdom for decades to come. That is, if you take the time to teach your kids to think well — to think wisely, deeply, and biblically.