November is right around the corner—in a big election year. If your kids are like mine, they have heard all kinds of things about the candidates running and the issues on the ballot. Let’s face it, 2016 was a messy election year and it looks like 2020 is shaping up to be the same. As your kids try to filter through the mess, it is important to help them look at everything through a healthy Christian worldview. No matter what is said out in the world, we can control what we communicate in our own homes. We can shine the light of Christ even into the political chaos.
When your kids come home from school stating which candidate their friend’s parents are voting for or share a telephone-game version of a current event, consider these tips to have a faith-filled, love-filled conversation about politics.
1. Always speak with respect and kindness while trying to represent the heart of Jesus. Remember, your kids will model not only WHAT we say but HOW we say it. As believers, no matter what you think about a particular candidate, the voting choice of a friend, or the positions of a political party, there is no reason to speak ill of them. Speak of them as children of God. Speak truth in love.
2. Explain the process. To the best of your ability, explain to your kids how government works and why we have the right to vote. Be honest about why things get cruel and messy. Teach them to stay above the drama and be part of the solution.
3. Talk about your family values in relation to politics. Instead of focusing on a candidate or a party, talk about the issues of each and what the Bible says about these issues. Ask your children questions to help guide them through thinking critically about what Jesus might do in these situations.
4. Don’t let politics separate friendships or relationships. God asks us to love unconditionally. We can disagree with people and still love each other so much. In a world that is so divided, this is a great opportunity to show unconditional love and help your child to truly grasp this important value.
5. No matter what happens, God is on the throne. It is important to communicate this good news of hope to your children. No matter who is president, senator, governor, or mayor, God is in control. He raises up kings and removes them according to His grand plan. When we trust in our God, He will never fail us.
6. Don’t forget the power of prayer. The most influential and powerful thing we can do as Christians is to pray. Not only do we pray during the election, but we pray for the elected leaders regardless of political party. The Bible commands that we pray for our political leaders and those in authority over us. Plus, as we pray, God will direct us and our words.
Don’t shy away from talking to your kids about the election. Parenting through an election year is another aspect of discipling your children. This is just another way you can raise a child who doesn’t conform to the world but develops a perspective to change it for Jesus.