Today's Guest Blogger is Melanie Angell Elliott
Melanie recommends visiting www.ConservativeChildrensBooks.com to find a good selection of books that will help you teach patriotic and conservative values to the kids in your life.
Thanks so much, Melanie, for sharing with us today!
(If you can't see Melanie's article, please click the tiny red "Read More" link below on the right.)
How Can a 3rd-Place Ribbon Teach
a Conservative Lesson?
Author and apologist Frank Turek says the reason they can be talked out of it so easily is because they were never talked into it.
If young adults are losing Christian faith, are they losing conservative faith, too? Are we teaching them with enough purpose? How do we pass our conservative beliefs on; how do we talk our kids into it?
Here’s how. Make conservatism a part of our worldview (or perspective). This means looking for opportunities to bring conservative ideas into interactions with our children and others. Here’s an example:
My fourth-grade son had an assignment to create a poster for a contest. You won’t be too surprised to hear that he knew about the assignment for two weeks but didn’t do anything about it until the day before it was due. That day, he worked pretty hard for about two hours, and ended up with a poster that met the minimum requirements. Looking at his final product, I asked him how he felt about it. He confessed it could have been a lot better, but he was glad to be done with it.
Imagine my amazement when he came home a week later with a shiny, white third-place ribbon! Here’s how our conversation went:
Mom: Wow! Really? You got third place!
Son: Yeah. But there was one first place, one second place, and everybody else in my class got third place.
We laughed together, then started talking about it.
Mom: Did everybody get the same amount of time, the same instructions, and all that?
Mom: When you looked at other posters, how did yours compare?
Son: Some were better, some were worse; mine was close to the middle.
Mom: Did your poster truly earn this third place ribbon?
Mom: If your poster really had deserved third place on its own, how would you have felt about everyone getting the same reward?
Son: Mad that someone who didn’t do good work got the same reward as me.
Whenever possible, it’s vital to take advantage of the teaching opportunity at the moment it happens! So we went on, talking about this event from a conservative worldview. Conservatives believe in equal opportunity: everyone getting the same chance. But we also understand that equal opportunity does not guarantee equal results. Different results happen because:
- Everyone has different abilities. Some of us are naturally better artists than others.
- Everyone puts in different levels of effort and time. Some kids probably worked on their poster every day, and some may have spent even less time than my son.
- Everyone has different levels of excitement and commitment. Some of us are really motivated by first place, and moving up to the next level of competition. Some would rather focus that energy on sports, music, or something else.
Wrapping up the conversation, my children and I talked about what happens when everyone gets the same reward, no matter how good or bad their results. They concluded that people stop working and stop trying to succeed. Lesson learned, for now. But we can’t stop after one lesson! They will need to hear the message many more times to counteract what they hear and see in our culture and current events.
Having a conservative worldview means we have to be ready with a good story, example, or answer when teachable moments occur. To do this, we have to know our own beliefs and why we believe them! Plan ahead and gather resources so you can learn, find answers, and lead your children to the truth.