I’m no Dr. Spock, but this is a conversation I had with a listener/parent a week ago. To be honest, I’ve received this question a few times.
DISCLAIMER: I have no children of my own and hold no degrees or certifications in child education or political science.
Mom: “Nate! My son and I love listening to your show! We listen every afternoon when we can!”
Me: “Thank you! How old is your son?”
Mom: “He’s 5. I’m raising him to be a republican. Do you have any suggestions?”
Me: “Yeah, don’t. Let your son be 5. Show him love. Support him. Play with him. Teach him values. Just let him be 5. He’s only 5 once.”
Discussions haunt me well beyond their completion. I’ve replayed this entire discussion plenty in my skull.
It made me reflect upon my own upbringing. I cannot recall either of my parents raising me to be one party or another. Sure they had opinions on issues and politicians.
I remember asking them, “Mom or Dad, what does this (insert news story) mean?” Their responses varied and were more complex:
Really young: “You’re too young for this.”, “This is adult stuff.”, “Go play.”, “Stop riding the dog like a horse. He’s not a horse.”
Pre-teen: “Grab a dictionary and look up the words you don’t understand.”, “Grab the map and find the country or state.”, “Stop eating paste.”
Teen: “You know the words. What do you think it means?”, “Argue for all approaches as best as you can then decide for yourself which argument you agree with.”, “For the last time, stop eating paste with the dog.”
As I’ve reflected on this, I’m reminded of my own stances on issues being challenged and changing. Personally, I don’t know anyone who has had the same political or social or fiscal stances throughout their entire life.
I cannot say for certain whether or not my parents tried to raise me to be a member of a party or belonging to a particular political ideology.
I can say for certain that they raised me. They were present. They were supportive. I was loved.
Personally, I feel the latter reflection is more important than the first.