‘During the last presidential election season, I visited a dear friend. In her front yard, I saw a sign for a candidate whom I vehemently opposed.
“Are you kidding me?” I thought, in a moment of disbelief. I knew my political views were different from those of my friend, and I have also known her for over ten years as a kind, generous, salt-of-the-Earth kind of person.
You might be wondering which candidate it was, but that’s not the point of this story. The point is about my attitude: While that sign wasn’t the end of our friendship, a similar sign on a stranger’s lawn might have deterred me from wanting to get to know them, and that’s concerning.
I’m not alone, for this is a time of intense political partisanship. One new study from Stanford University even found that most Americans now identify more with their political parties than their religion or ethnicity—a mindset that, if unchecked, can breed hostility and discrimination.
As a parent, I don’t want to model this kind of dismissive thinking for my child, and thus contribute to an even more polarized future. So, how do we avoid programming children to think badly of people they’ve never met? How can we help them to keep open hearts, in part so that they can make up their own minds about the issues they’re going to face as citizens, as they grow?’
To read more click, ‘Recent research points to some clues.’