Election 2016: Our Children are Watching

In the wake of this election, the protests have begun both on the streets and on social media. Even the “winning” side is taking to the internet to gloat and yell the “I told you so’s”. But we need to remember… our kids are watching. They are learning from us right now whether we realize it or not.

Throughout this campaign, many parents said, “Our children are watching,” and expressed concerns that some of the things being said and discussed were completely inappropriate. Parents said, “Our children are hearing terrible things from this candidate, and learning awful things from that candidate.”

But guess what? Now that the election is over, they are still hearing and learning from us. How we handle the results over the coming weeks can be translated into crucial teaching moments for our children. Consider this:

Handling a Win

Your candidate won. You are probably over the moon and excited. But are you handling the win with grace? Are you showing your children how to love the other side or are you insulting, making fun of or gloating? Right now is a great time to show how to be a gracious and loving winner.

Proverbs 24:17 says, “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice.” 

God doesn’t want us to celebrate in the fall of another and we certainly don’t want to teach our children that behavior either. Instead, we must focus on the good of the other competitors and show our children how to appreciate a hard fought battle. Rejoice in the win, not in the defeat of another.

Handling Defeat

Your candidate didn’t win. How are you talking about the results in your household? Did you immediately start bashing the winner and take to social media to express your frustrations? Are you heading outside to protest in the streets with your fellow supporters? Your kids are watching and learning it’s okay to be a sore loser; that it’s okay to yell, scream, protest and insult if you don’t get your way. That may seem harsh, but right now is a crucial time for you to teach your children a valuable lesson about losing with grace.

1 Corinthians 13:1-5 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 

This means we should teach our children about loving each other in the face of defeat. This doesn’t mean we need to stay silent and back down on our beliefs. Instead, we must show them how to remain passionate and stand for truth while speaking love over others. You don’t have to be passive to live in love and compassion.

Role Models

This presidential election has been extraordinarily contentious and, at times, hateful. Let’s not be the ones to carry that behavior into the following days, weeks, months and years. Instead, let’s be the role models and heroes our children look to and learn from. Let’s show them how to lose or win with grace, love, hope and compassion.

Redeemer