Children Are Our Future. Engage Them In Politics

Political role models don’t have to be politicians. Right now, I’m telling my daughter all about Meryl Streep’s and Viola Davis’s inspiring words at the Golden Globes. Or how about Scottish schoolgirl Martha Payne, who’s “changing the world, one school dinner at a time” with her food blog and herculean fundraising efforts for children in Malawi. Whether or not you love or loathe a power ballad, it’s hard to argue with George Benson or Whitney Houston singing “…the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.” We need the next generation to strengthen our democratic institutions, develop us socially and economically, build and sustain peace and look after us in our old age. But first, we need to engage and inspire them politically. Political ideology starts with thoughts, feelings and beliefs and our own views and preferences are already present in our children’s lives in a multitude of ways. We decide where and how to educate them. We pass on our religious beliefs or cultural customs or family baggage. We merrily make deeply personal and often divisive decisions on their behalf, based on what we believe is best for them.

Around the world, children’s futures are dictated by policy making from the moment they are born and some are born into the most devastating political situations imaginable. I want my children to know that they were dealt a good hand at birth. I want them to know that not everyone gets so lucky with their deck of cards and that the way we treat others in need of help is ultimately, how a society should be judged. So on reflection, maybe I’m not talking about getting kids to be politically active. Maybe I’m talking about encouraging children to care about fairness, equality and justice. Maybe it’s about teaching children to respect basic human rights. But as the prospect of hard Brexit looms and with Trump’s Presidential Inauguration ceremony almost upon us, even our fundamental human rights are a political football. And that’s why we need to coach our junior team. If we want to drag politics out of the gutter, investing and believing in the next generation is a good place to start.

Article source: