Saturday, August 11, 2018


WHAT can families do to educate kids about living successfully in a democracy?

In the U.S. democracy boils down to “liberty and justice for all.” In the French-speaking world, perhaps liberté, égalite, fraternité. Each and every democracy will have its own ideal values. With children and youth, list the key values that pertain to your nation.

More specifically, parents can/should discuss ballot issues and evaluate candidates with the kids. Use your country's ideal values as measuring rods. Take the kids to the poll booth or show them how voting works by mail ballot.

REBOOT DEMOCRACY for their lifetimes

What does it mean to be a citizen in a republic? Children need to learn this from their parents. (And grandparents, too.)

In short, home-school your kids about politics and citizenship. If you don’t have children of your own, consider your nieces, nephews, or extended family children.

In-school learning is important too. You can ask your kids about what they learn in school. I discussed with one of my granddaughters:

“In school, do you learn about American government, democracy, independence, the pledge of allegiance?”

“Yes,” she said, “we study that.”

“Well, do you discuss current events?”

“Not that so much. More like the history.”

Terrific. That's how schools should teach about government. Civics, including citizen rights, citizen duties and national ideals.

Advanced learning. In secondary or high school and at the college level. Kids should read Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” perhaps.

  • Ask students to list what citizens of a republic should do as a citizen and avoid doing. 
  • Discuss key personality traits of ruler-dictators versus those of democratic rulers.
(My wife's grandfather read "Julius Caesar" in Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University) early in the Twentieth Century. Neither my wife nor I, as undergraduates in the mid-Twentieth Century, were ever assigned that book. But now, having read it as an adult, I'd call it a basic for citizen education. Let's get back to it.)

From it  kids learn to identify would-be Caesars, strongmen, dictators? 

Before and beyond schools, parents are the best educators. The foundation of democracy is laid and repaired in the nation’s homes. Schools must do their part but the home is even more basic. 

2018: The Year of the People. It’s up to the people to determine what they want of their national life; up to the people to make it happen. I shout: REBOOT! It's slow, it's painful, it's top priority. 

Ensure that "by the people, for the people" continues by educating the kids about living in a democracy.

REBOOT DEMOCRACY. In the homes, in the schools.

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