Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Teaching our students about politics 2014

For the last decade or so, I have become more and more disappointed with the “state of the union speeches”, and not because of whoever is in office, but by the post-speech garbage that passes as political commentary and opinion and the mass amounts of electronic hate that flow past my screen whether or not I want to see it. What I am talking about is simple manners.

Politics is part of life, it has shaped the history United States (actually a lot of countries) in ways that we cannot avoid and should not avoid. Our children initially tend to learn their politics from us parents because we have this tendency to talk a lot and not realize our kids are listening. Later in life, we hope our kids develop their own ideas, but secretly we do not mind if they agree with our points of view.

Whatever your point of view, political affiliation, or whatever ‘label’ you want to put on yourself (I have written many times on how I dislike labels), I hope you are teaching your kids one all important part of politics and indeed life: it is ok to be courteous when discussing politics.

 In this day and age of smart phones and other devices, people can look up facts (or what they think are facts) on the internet right away for the simple purpose of proving someone wrong and rubbing it in. Let us teach our kids that first, not everything on the internet is true, and second courtesy can go a long way towards making a peaceful society.

We do not have to be angry when discussing politics, we do not always have to fight and spew vitriol and hate. What we can do is listen to each politely, and give our difference of opinion politely (backed up with facts would be good), all the while remembering that it is ok to have your own opinion and for someone else to disagree with you.

When did we forget this? When did we decide that impolite behavior was so widely acceptable? When are the media going to stop broadcasting this sort of thing just for ratings?

I am all for free speech. I am proud biker who also happens to be a proud educator, and in the motorcycle (MC) community, people are not afraid to speak their mind. However, there is one tenet in the MC community which reigns supreme and this tenet would work just fine in the community at large if everyone practiced it: “you give respect you get respect”.

Please be polite, it will not hurt you I promise.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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