|At the desk of U.S. Rep Lacy Clay of Missouri with |
the Congressman and RESULTS
I'm often a no-frills, no-fun Mommy who says, "Don't even ask to get in the pool or touch a digital device before you've read and practiced music!" But truth be told, I don't really require a lot over the summer. Summer is the time to explore other important things we don't get to during the school year. For instance, how to sand and paint a gazebo to look like the TARDIS on Dr. Who. Or, "what does poison ivy look like?" and OMYGOD-YOUR-STANDING-IN-POISON-OAK-DON'T-MOVE!
Aside from nature and industrial arts, my kids do engage in another summer activity that goes beyond what they get in the classroom during the year.
I like to call it "Immersion Civics."Civics doesn't get a ton of attention in school. Reading, writing, and arithmetic get top billing and lately STEM classes (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are in the news. Yet citizen engagement and lobbying don't make it to the classroom much. So, if summer is a chance to explore, then it's a great time for civics! Here's our story and ideas how you can still introduce your kids to a few actions before summer break is completely over.
|Cathy Hurwitt, Chief of Staff for Rep. Shakowksy|
explained how my daughter's letters helped keep
an issue at the top of her ever growing in-box.
|I like my kids to know they have a place at the table|
in lobby meetings.
Just like immersion in a foreign language helps one naturally pick up words and tones, my kids naturally pick up our behavior, attitude, and even some phrases when they do decide to speak in meetings.If there were ever a doubt for me that this is a good skill to teach kids and that the lessons were sinking in, they evaporated the day I saw a lobby agenda document drafted by one daughter in third grade after a peer suffered loss of his soccer privileges - unjustly, in her opinion. She and her friends requested a sit-down discussion with the principal and walked through all the logically arranged talking points. I gave her an A+ from Mommy-school.
I'll admit that this level of summer civics isn't for everyone. Just as my friends who are professional pianists are in a great position to teach their daughter advanced piano, my activities allow me teach them in this area. Nonetheless, ANYONE can start hands-on government lessons without even leaving the house. You can teach kids to write a letter to Congress and celebrate when you get a letter back. If they are old enough to have an email account, you can teach them about an issue and help them take an online action to send an email to Congress. Both of those lessons can be done in under 30 minutes. If you're especially ambitious you might even let them help you make a video showing other people how to call-in to Congress. Whatever you choose to do, I encourage you to find an issue that will make the world a better place help them be proud of themselves and the democracy we live in.
|Hand-in-hand, I walk the halls of Congress with my girls.|