The Kids Are Watching

October 04, 2016

As a writer and stay-at-home dad, I basically do two things in an average day: write about religion/politics and take care of my four-year-old son. I reflected on both those experiences for the Deseret News (in Salt Lake City). In the article, What Can Third-Graders Learn from Trump and Clinton?, I note that kids are learning about the campaign even if we don't think so. I also offered a couple of thoughts on using the campaign for teaching moments for my son on how to act (and not act).

The 2016 campaign has sadly brought many moments when I quickly hit the mute button on the radio or looked over my shoulder to make sure my son hadn't snuck out of bed. Amazingly, Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte, who is locked in a close re-election bid in New Hampshire, declared during a debate last night that she "absolutely" saw Donald Trump as a role model for children. Her campaign released a statement that evening saying she "misspoke" and blasted both candidates as poor role models. Democrats are already rightly zinging her for the debate remark. Trump's profanity, misogyny, racism, and name-calling make him a horrible public example for our kids. 

A couple of the most brilliant campaign ads during this presidential election came from Hillary Clinton's campaign. Even though I do not plan to vote for her, I must admit her ad team wisely saw the power of simply featuring Trump in his own words. Probably the best one featured children watching Trump say profane and outrageous things on TV.

It's an important reminder. Kids are watching our campaign, often thinking Trump and Clinton are what it looks like to be a leader. So the words of our candidates matter. We must demand better!

Has this campaign sparked conversations with your young kids or grandkids?