Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My first grade kid is in the midst of class elections. His teacher is really doing it up: primaries, debates, interviews, three tickets of kids on different platforms. Some parents, all of whom tend to be a bit more serious than my own mouthy self, have suggested that this is too much stress for the kids. They think it’s too devastating to lose and that the teacher should turn this into making up referenda for the school instead. I think the way the teacher has set up the process is a lot of work but a great learning opportunity. I also think she has done a great job preparing the kids for possibly losing. My kid says that everyone in class looks forward to Social Studies because they are all so into the elections. I want to write back the other parents and say, “Settle down,” but I fear being the lone dissenter to the dissent.
Dear Electoral Coddle-ge,
It took me a while to be able to respond, because I was having too much fun imagining a debate between three 1st graders. You know, the kid who runs on sugary snacks, extra recess and longer nap-times is totally pandering.
Anyway. About these other parents. I am with you sister. These kids are going through this exercise during one of the most contentious presidential races in history. If the point is to teach them how it all works, their election should mirror the actual process as closely as possible. Demand to see birth certificates! Who paid less taxes on their allowance! Which kid believes in choice time, and which one only believes in choice time when the life of the teacher is at stake?! Huh? Oh. Hmmm. Sorry. Got a little carried away there.
Yes, I am sure the kids that lose in this election will be upset. What’s so wrong with that? The sooner the parents help their kids manage that, and teach them that there’s always the next election, or the next game, the better off they will be. As far as you speaking up and letting your opinion be known, I think with the right approach, you could come across as the voice of reason. Point out what a positive experience it will be for the kids, and perhaps give examples of actual politicians who lost their first elections and then went on to win later.
May the best kid win!