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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today's Politics Part 1

During last election year and often, as parents, our conversations turn to politics.  Our beliefs, our fears, our tolerances or our impatience. Are our kids listening? Are they being influenced? Who is the bigger influence: Parents or Hollywood? We all know Hollywood celebrities have a huge influence on people in general, especially with children. Little Timmy sees Adam Sandler drinking his product-placed new flavor of Mountain Dew and suddenly little Timmy wants it. Not a big surprise. Most of these impressions are harmless, as long as parents maintain the final buying/consumption decisions.
But more and more these days, celebrities are using their power to voice their personal political opinions. Which would be fine, but when their statements are bias and lean to the left or (occasionally) right, is that the message we want sent to our children? Does it follow our beliefs? And, how does it influence children When George Clooney goes up to accept his Academy Award and gives a long speech on how liberalism is basically the wave of the future, he's molding his fans' minds. Fans may or may not have already felt that way but his opinion seems to have an impact on society. George Clooney is just an example. More and more politicians are using actors to be their voices You need not be politically active nor even agree with a political side to feel the influence. It is everywhere. As adults/parents, chances are we have already formed our core beliefs. But, what about the kids? Raising children today is much different than generations prior. Kids do talk about policies and elections.
They live in the same world we do and are affected by many aspects of the political fall- out. There is no way to completely isolate your children from differing political opinions. At school last December, my son voted for Obama and in a class of 17 kids, he was only among 4 of the 17 that voted for Obama. He said he's got a cool name and that's why he voted for him. I guess that's the mind of a 5 year old. Even if you never let them watch tv or listen to the radio, there are still the playground, school and neighborhood friends that have been influenced and now feel empowered with their new viewpoint What you can do though is teach children how to become an informed American citizen and voter. When your children turn 18 and go to the voting polls, hopefully you will have instilled in them a sense of responsibility to vote their minds based on research. Instead of a movie star influence.

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