Photo by: DCJohn
Today is a week before mid-term elections. Don't worry; this is not a post about whom you should vote for, why one point of view is right versus another, or even just the importance of voting. I thought that I would look at what our politicians say and do in order to get (or remain) where they are.
I was so struck this morning by an ad on TV. Even watching ads is a rarity with the miraculous invention of a DVR. One of the best blessings with a DVR is that I can fast-forward through political (and other) ads, as I find they only make me angry. This one commercial was an exception: it was about why I SHOULD vote for a particular candidate, not why I SHOULD NOT vote for the opponent.
The particular commercial was stressing the strengths of the candidate: what this person has done while in office and will continue to do if re-elected. Nowhere in the 30 seconds of screen time were pictures of text that vilify a position that the opponent took thirty years ago or damning video. It was so simple.
I am marveling at this because it is such an exception now. It's sad to think of the fall and Elections, and connote mudslinging. No wonder why our kids have no idea how to resolve conflict: they see conflict being the goal from the highest people all the way down to common denominators.
In recent weeks, bullying has made national headlines once again, specifically look at teens with a non-heterosexual orientation. Just looking at advertisements, we don't see images of tolerance and acceptance being shown in rapid succession. We see divisive images and harmful words.
This point of view is fine for someone who is able to look at both sides of a problem and weigh considerations for each. For children and teens, they aren't able to do this. Literally. The portion of their brain that serves in decision-making hasn't fully blossomed. (This happens in our mid-20's). Yet our expectations are that our kids and teens know how to make good choices and decisions, but choose not to.
Certainly in bullying, it's not such a simple issue as punish the bullies, help the victims. There is a larger world model that needs to change, one where we don't, as adults, reward bullying behavior. Or where both the bully and the victim are counseled, as a bully doesn't just happen to pick on someone for sport.
We must change school systems that promote bullying in subtle ways, such as a teacher showing favoritism to a student. Additionally, parents need to be able to look at warning signs for both kids who are bullies and those that are bullied. This is such a challenge given the demanding forces we all face in everyday life.
But changing political ads seems to be a good, solid start.