Kids are going to have their whole lives to engage in, or avoid, politics and all the things that go with it: rallies, protests, arguments, discussions, forums, university clubs and classes, pressures to do this or that from family, friends, and even the companies for which they work.
Childhood is precious, and we only get one. Obviously, there are exceptions. Some kids have to grow up early due to family or economic circumstances.
But it’s wrong to indoctrinate children and involve them in things they are not equipped to process or understand. Some may do it with the justification that they’re teaching them how to be good citizens, but politics is dynamic and complicated.
One has to understand laws and policies, human behavior, economics, trade-offs, and the motivations that encourage people to do one thing or another.
Lately, I’ve seen a fair amount of videos out there of kids leading Black Lives Matter protests or participating in Trump rallies. In many of these videos, there are antagonists and arguments happening. And if we’ve proven anything of late, I’m not sure we can trust adults to be civil in front of children.
We can’t even trust adults to be thoughtful and respectful during their own children’s sporting events. Why do we think it’s a good idea to bring children into a hot environment like a political rally.
Yes, we definitely need to teach our children the importance of civics and participating in the republic, but it’s probably best to do that in a less contentious environment, like bringing them along with you to vote. (Although, who knows how dangerous that might be this election.)
When kids get hurt or yelled at when out with their parents at political rallies or protests, it’s always a tragedy for the kids, but it’s also damning for the parents. These events end up showcasing bad parenting, even when other adults are the instigators. Why would you even put your child in that environment?
Kids aren’t cognitively developed or sophisticated enough to process and understand the dynamics of politics and are also prone to being used. I think it’s criminal to teach our kids to fear global warming, indulge their desire to be another gender, or let them believe they were born racist.
Unfortunately, too many people want to get an early start on indoctrinating our children. After a generation of teachers teaching critical race theory and convincing our children to hate America, we can see the worst of what can happen to children who are defenseless against listening to adults who should otherwise be trustworthy.
There’s no way to enforce this other than to undergo a cultural shift. We’ve spent the last 30 or 40 years making everything political. Our only chance is to undo it and let people live and experience the ups and downs of life without assigning credit or blame to larger political themes.
Childhood is a happy and carefree time. They’ll have plenty of time to deal with, or ignore, the issues that confront them as adults. Until then, let them learn to work and deal with others within a timeline that works with their cognitive abilities.
It’s fine if you want to attend a rally or go destroy your local police station, but next time, leave the kids at home.