March 7, 2016

Lessons From the Presidential Candidates

Nightly as I turn on the news to hear the results of the latest Presidential Primary, my children immediately start to pick my brain about who will win and why did “so and so” say such a thing. Kids are curious about what is going in the political world. They hear about it at school, in classes and with friends. They want to know if we are a Republican or a Democrat. They want to know why Donald Trump says such crazy things and if Hillary Clinton is going to go to jail because of her emails. More importantly though is that they are living a political world every day. I would wager that in the halls of a middle school or high school, students are seeing a much more aggressive example of politicking than even Donald Trump could deliver on his worst day.

So instead of just torturing ourselves by listening to another 8 months of political bickering, let’s put this political chaos to good use and help our children learn to better navigate the political world they face every day. Here are three specific topics that you could address with your kids about how to be a Positive Person instead of a Powerful Politicker. So regardless of which candidate you’ll vote for, here are some basic principles that would help every politician and teenager better maneuver their political world.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

  • Positive People:
    • Let our actions do our talking, not our words.
    • Positive people can trust their past because it has gotten them results.
    • They don’t try to be something they’re not and they try to show integrity to who they are and make sure their actions align to their words.
    • They don’t feel a need to exaggerate, name call, or make up stuff about others.
    • They recognize that their words can hurt others.
    • What we don’t say but should have, can also have consequences. In the end, many times our failure to act or say something could be a silent or subtle acceptance of something inappropriate.
    • They focus on their results and not other people’s lack of results.
  • Politicking People:
    • Try to use their words to cover up their past. They speak louder, faster and more aggressively to distract people from the real issues.
    • They say whatever they say to get elected to be accepted.
    • They feel that their words can easily change based on who’s in the room.
    • They carefully calculate what they’re saying and know that they can say whatever they want to because nobody is really ever going to look up what you’ve said or done before.
  • Political Examples: In the election, you’re hearing candidates from both sides of the race calling each other names, making fun of a candidate’s face, hands, hair, spray tan, sweatiness, shrill tone, gender, ethnicity or even age.

 Value People More Than Popularity & Power

  • Positive People:
    • See the inherent worth of every soul. No one person or party is more important than another.
    • They see a child of God in every race, gender, religion, financial status and educational level.
    • Positive People always ask themselves how others might be impacted by what they are saying and doing.
    • They see value in people and that value is not based on what people can bring to them, but instead simply because of who they are in relation to them . . . a fellow traveler on this earth, a brother or sister.
  • Politicking People:
    • See people as voting blocks, not individuals.
    • See some people as more powerful, popular, prestigious and thus more valuable than others.
    • They see that people are only as valuable as their ability to help them to obtain a higher social status, level of prestige, popularity or profits. Politickers use people! Once they’ve got what they can from them, they are done with them.
    • They see people as disposable and only valuable if they keep producing the results they want from them.
  • Political Examples: Our politicians see people as groups, contributors, voters, delegates, coalitions, voter blocks, party bosses, campaign workers, PACS, Republicans, Democrats or Independents, blacks, whites’ Hispanics. They struggle to see us as individuals and they don’t have time to hear our stories individually.  Teens see each other as jocks, cheerleaders, molly’s, skaters, geeks, instead of brothers and sisters.

 Confidence Comes From The Inside Out…Not the Outside In!

  • Positive People: Lasting confidence comes from the inside of ourselves out, not the outside in.
    • Positive People use their principles not their polling data as their guide to life, which gives them a strong fix on life.
    • Their lasting confidence comes from their belief in their own principles and their ability to deeply live the principles they believe in.
    • Their confidence comes from their work on their character and integrity to principles, not the number of votes or Facebook friends.
    • They know their our own abilities and weaknesses and seeing progress in their plan to become a better person.
    • They believe in God even when others see them as a fool for it.
    • They choose to project what they really are, “A work in progress” instead of just “faking it” until they make it.
    • They know that in the end no matter how much faking they do, they will still know that they’re a fake.
    • They know they can’t be stronger with others if they haven’t worked hard on the deepest, inner part of their private life.
    • To have more power with people publicly means that you have to have a lot of private victories and character found in the private times and places of your life.
  • Politicking People: Believe you can fake it till you make it.
    • That inner integrity and character is not half as important as your network and resources.
    • Politicians believe that with enough money and publicity, you can make people believe anything.
    • They believe that the “end” of being elected or popular is worth whatever it takes to get there.
    • They believe that their personality will carry the day more than your character and principles.
    • They use their tools like charisma, debate skills, and changing the subject. Packaging, presentation, talking points and confusing the topic to build their confidence.
    • They make promises that they know can’t be kept. They’ll say anything to get elected.
    • They think that what they do in private, behind closed doors is not as important as what they do in public. Their marriage could be falling apart, but as long as they’re elected it will all work out.
  • Political Examples: Polling, punditry, unkept promises, finger point and blaming

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