Majority rules, at least some of the time! As citizens, our vote is our voice and with all the non-sense in Washington, we’re reminded of our important role in the national conversation. Our opinions matter on the issues impacting our nation. Our country is governed based on the fact that we the people are supposed to have a say…so, where do we the people find our big girl (or big boy) voice? To break through the dysfunction of Washington, it starts with calling Congress and setting the record straight. To break through the dynamics of your own kitchen table, it starts with setting the table (so to speak).
MAMAs, how do we govern our homes – more like dictatorships or democracies? Sometimes it’s easier to get stuff done when you exert supreme control, right? Plus, democratic principals don’t always work when you’re out-numbered by your KID-Os! But, non-politicos beware; our kids are learning the basics of civics and citizenship from us…yep, through our mommy governing style.
Consider everyday situations as teachable MOMents. What are your rules of protocol? Think about what your family Bill of Rights would say. Explain to your kids what your expectations are and if/why their sibling’s “rights” are different than theirs. Teach them to “stand up for their rights,” while giving them a little perspective on equality and opportunity. Maybe their sibling earns extra allowance by doing extra chores and participating in other family responsibilities? Have a lesson on fairness. Teaching our kids to contribute to their family – their first community – empowers them to make an impact and gives them a greater understanding of how they make a difference every day.
Consider your family the platform for constructive conversation and the polling station for everyday issues. It’s our kids’ first community and where they learn to express themselves, develop problem-solving and social skills and build their dreams for the future. Our kids are the next generation of Americans…they are the future bankers and baseball players, teachers and technicians, police officers and policy makers, artists and astronauts, scientists and social workers… among them are the next Presidents, Wall Street wizards, Nobel Peace Prize winners, explorers, soldiers, doctors, inventors, mothers. If our kids are the future, then America’s moms are literally shaping that future, one child at a time.
Our kids need to know how to navigate playground politics because it will help them later in life. For example, if they encounter a bully on the playground (or cyber space or Capitol Hill) show them how to rally support, stand up to the meanie and diffuse the situation – do a little role play, engage the school, make a game plan. Showing them how to handle the situation will give them the skills to deal with the bigger bullies in the real world…because “once a bully, always a bully.” Also, nipping your child’s overly aggressive tendencies early, will help them avoid the bully backlash and become productive, well-adjusted citizens, too.
Have a little lesson on the Freedom of Speech when dinner looks yucky. Teach them that with “freedom comes responsibility” and all that means. Sure, they are free to express their opinions, but they need to learn how and when it’s appropriate and when they need to compromise. MAMAs make sure they mind their manners and never use their words to tell lies or hurt people. We need to remind them that there are consequences to our words and actions. So, help your kids find outlets to channel their frustrations and fears in positive ways.
Every once in a while, check in and take a minute to discuss the State of the Union in your own family. Talk about what is working and what isn’t. And, don’t forget to listen to the littlest voices…because someday soon, our kids will be the people that rule.