6-year-old’s studying politics in ‘after school’ education

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Anyone who has seen me after 5:30 on a school night out working has probably seen me with a 6-year-old mini-me in tow.

The past three weeks have been no exception.

We’ve traveled to council meetings, a board of education meeting and a church event to take snapshots for our lifestyles magazine.

She’s a trooper most days; others she’s just concerned about if she can go to Sonic and get a hot dog and a milkshake or get a biscuit and gravy from the Huddle House. (Praise be to Jesus, Huddle House is back open again.)

A loyal reader, who attends one of the council meetings, jokingly asks her if she is going to be a reporter when she grows up. She never answers, but she grins.

She tells me she wants to be a surgeon.

I tell her she can be whatever she wants to be.

On Monday night, she asked me how to spell “Opp City Council meeting.”

She wrote it in a reporter’s notebook.

During the workshop, she was reading off the nameplates of the city council asking me if she was pronouncing their names correctly.

Then, she went back to doodling in her notebook.

Later, the mayor announced that there would be a lot of fun at the annual OppFest at the end of the month, and she perked up and said she wanted to go.

I didn’t even think she was paying attention.

A few weeks ago, a councilman told me I was giving my child the best civics lesson ever. She might not know it now, he said, but she will when she gets older.

I’ve thought about what he said many times, and he’s absolutely right.

Education is labeled as the most powerful weapon for changing the world.

Election season is upon us and it’s also a great opportunity for us to explain to our children what those elected officials do for their constituents.

Then, we don’t have an upcoming generation who doesn’t know government officials such as the attorney general or secretary of state does.

Sure, for some, politics is boring, but it’s inevitable that there will be laws and issues that affect us that come up, and it’s important to know what’s going on in the world around us.

It’s important to ensure that our children understand the political process, and it’s never too young to start easing them into it.

But it goes beyond the election. Many may find council meetings and board meeting boring, and that’s fine.

Still, our children should grow to understand and know who has been elected to make decisions for their future.

It doesn’t take a long time to talk to your children about who the mayor and city council members are or the county commission and other elected officials. Older children can learn what those officials do for the public. They can also learn what happens at the state level and who holds those offices.

Albert Einstein once said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but why those who watch without doing anything.”

It’s hard to make change if you don’t know where to start.