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Friday, March 20, 2009

The Process

Depending on which direction your politics lean, you're either smiling or shaking your head this morning. But either way, this is certainly an important time in our nation.

I was thinking, last night as my kids and I were watching news reporting on the election results, that this is another one of those HUGE teachable moments. As important as your political convictions are (and yes, this is a great time to share them with your kids), I've been thinking about what an awesome opportunity this is to discuss the process. I must admit that though I can mutter and sputter with the best of them about the economy and government, I live in a country that has a pretty amazing process in place when it comes to electing government officials.

Now my kids have learned American history over and over again, and we've discussed the process of a presidential election myriads of times. But I was reminded again last evening that often those facts don't stick until you see them in action (i.e. the teenager who asked what's the electoral college again mom?).

So now is a great time to put some shoes on those facts. Help your kids to see the process (if you haven't already) that led to last night's election results. Talk with them about what happens now? We had a rather interesting discussion last evening about how "powerful" President Bush will be for the next two months or so. Can he really accomplish anything now that the next president has been elected? How does the transition between this administration and the next take place?

I've found the Internet to be a wealth of resources for presidential election education. Here and there I've seen people refer to sites that helped them better understand the process. A few that impressed me:
  • History Central has a phenomenal site that provides information on every presidential election back to the late 1700s. Find out who the candidates were, how the electoral votes played out, and what the major issues were.
  • Wikipedia has a great explanation of how the electoral college works, and some interesting links and maps to back up the information.
  • There's a nifty interactive electoral votes map found at 270 to win
.So whether your candidate of choice won or lost last night, don't miss this tremendous opportunity to help your kids understand the process, and how it came to be.

Keep on keeping on ...
~Judy

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