When you cast your ballot, what factors determine who you choose to lead? How do you select leaders? That was the topic in my Jr. High civics class this week. It sounds so simple, but then again, it’s not easy, as my ‘tweens discovered.
I asked the students what “maturity” meant. One child answered, “It’s like being an adult who is wise.” (Out of the mouths of babes!) We discussed the difference between being popular for good looks and being popular because one is a person who makes wise choices. Look for candidates who can tell the difference between what is true and what is false. Do they exercise good discernment?
What if this is a candidate’s first time running for public office? They have no experience doing the job of an elected official. Should we avoid supporting that person? No. Instead, what do we look for? I suggested the students look for a candidate’s record of serving others in some capacity. We talked about ancient wisdom that says: “The greatest among you will be your servant.” That is to say; good leaders are willing and able to serve others.
Integrity is the cornerstone of a good reputation. A simple marker I use for integrity is whether a person is who they are. It’s like Popeye the Sailor man sang, “I yam what I yam, and that’s all that I yam.”
The class discussed what it means to have a good reputation and the importance of keeping “a good name.” However, in an era of 24-hour news cycles and p0litical gamesmanship, American adults tend to focus on faults as they look for that sin-free candidate. None exists. https://civicsandcitizenship.org/leadership-qualities/
Be that as it may, we often hear about candidates’ faults and failures. It’s our job to discover who gets our coveted v0te. We have the privilege of choosing our leaders. However, along with privilege comes responsibility. Three simple character traits -maturity, experience, and integrity- can help you determine how you select leaders.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. 🇺🇸
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