Parenting In An Election Year

Mar 22, 2024

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” Hebrews 13:17


This can be a really, REALLY hard statement for many to abide by today and in this election year especially, no matter which way it goes.


We are living in uncertain times.  I don’t think anyone would argue with that.  The division, the 24 hour news cycles at our fingertips referencing every corner of the world, the headlines, the “word on the street”, the worst case scenarios, the “fake news”, and conspiracies playing on repeat at every gathering and the general feel of “we don’t know what tomorrow will bring” -ness leaves a nation with high anxiety.  


I was at lunch today and it took less than 3 minutes to overhear an anxious conversation about the prospects of our country’s leadership.  “NOW look at the decision we have to make!” three elderly citizens started the conversation with.


Unfortunately, when anxiety is high, critical thinking is low.  That is just the way the brain works.  When high in stress and anxiety, the brain simplifies the options on the menu… fight, flight or freeze.  


(This is why so much training has to go into high stress jobs to be able to stay out of this anxiety mode and think clearly.  Also… weirdly, in our screen protected world, many of us “untrained” people are choosing fight AND flight, meaning there is big game talk behind the same screens we can hide behind and this causes so much more chaos in the process.)


Raising adolescents in this culture is difficult, no doubt, but I have seen many things happening at the hands of adults that are not teaching our next generation anything more than what was taught in the cautionary tale of the Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss.  Have you read it?


This was one of my favorites as a kid, but looking back at the meaning I find it anything but funny.  Did you know that this is one of the only books he wrote without a happy ending?  In the end it is just two generals holding bombs that will destroy everything and waiting for the other to make a move.  


We can do better and honestly we need to.


I am not here to tell you who to vote for, this isn’t that kind of article and you won’t find me writing anything like that.  But, I will say that, at the very least, we need to be the people that our kids need their leaders to be, so they can become the kind of leaders THEY need to be.  


Look, it doesn’t matter where you lie.  Right, left, middle, green, purple or polka dot.  There are 4 things we have to keep in mind in order to help this and especially our next generations face the challenges of our time and theirs.     


  1. Have Respect

Respect is something we expect from our kids toward us and the world.  Respect others, be kind, be generous, be compassionate towards others needs and don’t assume.  You never know the full story, so have grace. 


We were with friends once who spent a lifetime working in the armed forces and then in DC who told us that we, as citizens, can only know maybe 5-6% of what is all happening behind the scenes of local, state, national and international interests. There is so much happening, all at the same time (195 countries full of different people and cultures and the natural world in addition).  It would be impossible for every citizen to know it all, not to mention we don’t have the clearance or know the covert ops, technology expansions, economies etc.  We don’t know the full story.  


We all have our own looking glass, meticulously manufactured specifically for us as a result of every experience we have had in our lives.  Listen, I promise you that you can respect another’s viewpoint even if yours differs and you can respect the person even if you don’t respect their behavior.  Stay calm, ask questions, connect on deeper levels, cultivate a conversation and, if need be, devise clear outcomes.  But, most times, you can just respect the differences and that is enough.  


But, we need to stop the name calling, playground bully signs, tshirts, slogans and child-like antics.  This is a country we are trying to hold together and make stronger, not weaker with more fractures for our future generations to deal with.


I saw a post the other day that said, “If the US were around when Paul was here, we would be getting a letter” and I couldn’t agree more.  I see things that just astonish and sadden me.  Mocking, shaming, slander, immaturity.  I see people that go to church on Sundays to learn about the mockers Jesus faced and then stand up to be the mockers the rest of the week.  Talk about a WWJD moment.   


I was with the legendary John Maxwell a few weeks back and he said, “there was a time more divided in American history than we are right now…. it was called The Civil War”.  No thank you.


How can we teach our kids not to be bullies when we are decorating our homes and news feeds with slander? (Psalms 101:5 , Proverbs 10:18)


How can we teach them to love your enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) when we can’t even be civil to the “enemies” we presume?


How can we teach them to respect positions of authority (Romans 13:1) if we are not? 


There have been 45 men who have served as president so far in this country.  Just 45. And each has taken on a tremendous task.  This is a young nation, but I know that this nation is not being made stronger through wider, more violent and blind division and civil turmoil.  We can disagree and that is ok. But, like in any marriage or devoted friendship, we have to respect and remain united.  It is in our title after all.


The bottom line is that we are called to “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10.  


 2. Be Responsible

Responsibility is having an obligation to do something as part of your role and we have a role as a citizen of this country to uphold its integrity.  


Accountability is one of the central tenants of maturity and being a self-disciplined leader in your own life.  But, saying things like, “I did it because they did” and pointing a finger to the peer next to you who in turn does the same thing is the definition of foolishness (Proverbs 26). 


1 Corinthians 13:11 says “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”


That is what we need to do… give up our childish ways and be accountable for our own actions and responsible for the role we play. 


One of the most common arguments I hear in adolescents is when they blame their behavior on the actions of someone else.  It may look something like,


Parent- “Why did you just throw this ______?”

Child- “Because _______ made me so mad!”




Parent- “Why did you cheat on the test?

Child- “Because _______ was cheating too and gave it to me!”


A child thinks anything done in retaliation or even as being part of a herd is justified and safe, but as parents we are trying to help each child be accountable for their OWN actions.  This is what we need to model for them.  Each of us has the responsibility to be the leader of ourselves and the responsible, accountable leader our families, communities, country and world need.


 3. Do Research

Don’t assume.  We all know what that makes us, don’t we?


In any election for any position we need to ask what the candidates stand for?  What do they want? Do they have an agenda? What is their character and their leadership styles?  How would this candidate affect my life if elected? What direction will they take the country (or whatever they will be directing if elected) and how much can you trust them to do the things they say they will do (good or bad)?


James 3:17 says “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” 


Well rounded research from many perspectives and sources leads to better wisdom and choices and abandons blind opinions held together with the chewing gum of gossip, popular opinion or even tribal thought (as in, this is what my family says, so I do too).  


Once I was working with a young man during the 2020 election and he was a DEVOTED follower of one of the candidates.  I calmly and respectfully asked this young man who stood before me with a bare chest emblazoned with big blue letters to spell out the name of his candidate, “Can you tell me what it is about this candidate that you love and support so much to get you out here in the cold like this?”  


“He’s cool.  I don’t really know, but my parents like him” 


Once when I was in middle school a young girl was given suspension for something (probably well deserved), but the whole 7th grade decided to stage a sit-in.  We had NO idea what we were doing a sit-in for to be honest, but it was empowering to stand for something and make a change regardless. 


These kids want something to fight for.


Show them a path to form educated opinions, see perspectives, talk to people, vote with integrity and create change with wisdom through research, respect and accountability!  


 4. Rise Up

Our country has come together in times of great pain, tragedy and terror, but we don’t have to wait for the proverbial shoe to drop.  We can unite now.  As Americans.  The weaker we are as one united country, the weaker we are on the world stage and the weaker the world stability.  It is a domino effect that the enemy is sitting back and enjoying immensely as we use child-like antics to turn on one another.  


Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” 


Do not give up and give in.  Keep going and doing the next right thing!


In our small family business we have the motto, 

“Small changes made by the many create extraordinary change for the world.”  


We can all make sound, wise, choices today to lift up our country so it can rise up and not fall down.  Our kids need a stronger us than what we are giving them now.  I am not even talking about the officials and those who sit in the oval.  I am talking about us, the people.  You and me.  WE need to do better.


Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world.  In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 


That is your family and my family.  It starts at home.  Let us not raise another generation of problem seekers and challenge makers, but a generation that can effectively solve problems and bring about a better world than the one they have stepped into.

It starts with us.  It starts in our hearts, our homes, our offices, our schools, our lines at the store and our churches.  


Use Respect. 

Be Responsible. 

Do Research and let’s 

teach our kids how to help this country Rise Up!


God Bless.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.