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  • ‘Choose As If Your Child's Life Depends On It’: Family Uses 2022 Elections As Teachable Moment

    You choose the best for your kids, the same applies to elections
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
‘Choose As If Your Child's Life Depends On It’: Family Uses 2022 Elections As Teachable Moment
PHOTO BY SHUTTERSTOCK
  • As chaotic and divisive as the 2022 Philippine elections are turning out to be, the last thing we want to do as parents is to shield our children from it whether they are grade-schoolers or are of voting age

    In fact, this is the perfect time to teach them about the importance of voting even at a very young age, says Dr. Gail R. Galang, chair of the Family Studies Program and associate director of the Center for Peace Education at Miriam College. 

    Start them young 

    “[Parents can start talking about the importance of voting] as soon as the child can comprehend the idea of choosing and how their choices can lead to consequences that will somehow affect them,” says Dr. Galang.

    Use simple analogies that children can relate to such as asking them what happens to the body when she or he prefers to drink more soda than water. “If they don't know the answer, then you open the opportunity for them to investigate.” 

    Dr. Galang adds that parents can encourage the child to read or ask other people about the topic until he or she makes an informed decision. This strategy helps the child think and learn on his own. 

    Using house chores as an analogy is another creative way to make young children understand the deeper meaning and nuances of voting. 

    A prime example can be asking the child who Mom or Dad assigns to do certain tasks in the house and why? “This teaches them the importance of having special attributes needed to get a certain work done,” says Dr. Galang. 

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    When children are of school age, the analogies get easier. As young as pre-school, they are already taught to choose a leader in a group or for the entire class. 

    By the time they get into big school, they start being introduced to the election process through the voting of student council officers. This is also the time they start getting exposed to campaigns by the student candidates. 

    “By relating it to their experiences, even very young children can understand the importance of voting at the national level,” points out Dr. Galang, a mom of four, two of whom are of voting age.

    2022 elections as a teachable moment

    As a mom to two young voters in their househould, Dr. Galang and her husband maximize different platforms to help them navigate their way around the chaos and divisiveness that’s out there, especially on social media

    “This gives us parents opportunities to validate their observations, so they feel confident about their own choices,” she says.  

    With this in mind, she and her husband see the 2022 national elections as a teachable moment, especially for her son who is a first-time voter. Here, she enumerates some of the lessons parents can impart to their children: 

    1. Voting is a sacred duty.

    It is something we have to take seriously because it will affect the lives of everyone, especially those with limited means in life. 

    2. Choose leaders wisely.

    Vote for leaders with unquestionable positive attributes, with no stains of corruption and deceit.

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    3. Check a candidate’s track record.

    Get to know each candidate so you don't fall into the trap of basing votes on popularity. 

    4. Choose candidates you can truly be proud of. 

    5. Never sell your future.

    Those who buy votes are interested to win but may not be interested in you. 

    6. Do your research.

    Find out or read about each leaders’ past whether in his/her personal life, achievements, or performance as a public servant. “There shouldn't be a second chance for candidates who have failed the country in the past,” she says. 

    7. Choose as if your life depends on it.

    “In choosing a driver for your child, you want the most competent one so your child gets safely to school. Same with a country's leader. You must choose as if your children's lives depend on it,” concludes Dr. Galang.

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