Home » Home and Family » Parenting

Generation Engage: Raising Kids Who Change The World

Mar 7, 2008
By the time the next President is in the third year of his or her term, my teenagers will be eligible for the draft. Believe me, we're watching the candidates closely when it comes to their views on war - and arguing about them. If your family's anything like ours, you're probably discussing issues around the dinner table during this election year. Parents have a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime chance to inspire our kids to consider the habit of activism, even if they can't vote this time around.

Along with lively conversations and family debates, why not use the power of story when it comes to raising world-changers? As Woodrow Wilson used to say, the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Through Readergirlz, our 5000-member on-line forum at MySpace and Facebook, we're seeing teens make the connection between great stories and world-changing action.

For readers, suggest a novel about politics, like Ellen Emerson White's riveting books about a girl whose mother becomes President, and First Boy by Newbery Honor author Gary Schmidt. Or visit sparrowblog, where the main character of my novels, fictional First Daughter Sparrow Righton, is blogging about the real First Kid wannabes. Elizabeth Edwards and Josh Romney have both left notes for Sparrow - why don't you try it, too? Sparrow always answers back.

If stories about life in the political limelight don't interest your teen, offer one about an issue that might speak to his or her heart. Try Patricia McCormack's Sold, for example, which personalizes the plight of human trafficking. Then call or email the candidates' campaign teams to find out whether he or she has taken a stand on that particular issue. To start, check out Hilary Clinton's views about trafficking written when she was First Lady and available online.

If your son or daughter cares about AIDS or poverty, consider Ana's Story by Jenna Bush, and visit the ONE site to see what the candidates have to say about global want. If he or she is concerned about terrorism, read Paula Jolin's In the Name of God, a novel about a Syrian girl who considers becoming a suicide bomber. Then google news sites together to discover what the candidates have said about terrorism - and about Islam.

Not all great stories come to us via the pages of a book, and you may not have a teen who likes to read. Politically-oriented films abound for family movie nights, ranging from funny, which you can find at politicalhumor dot about dot come; to classic at classicmovies dot org; or featuring a President as the central character at boxofficemojo dot com. If your teen is curious about life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, here's a list of stories about the White House made for both the big and small screens to be found at whitehousemuseum dot org.

If our dream is to raise lifelong activists, it's easy to use this election year to jumpstart conversations at home. But if we want to keep the momentum going after November 2008, why not inspire our children to activism through the power of great stories that change their minds, hearts, and lives forever?

(Reprinted with permission of Mitali Perkins)
About the Author
Mitali Perkins, Mitali Perkins, is the author of two political novels for teens called First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover and First Daughter: White House Rules (Dutton). To learn more about the novels, visit First Daughter Books.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 240
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources