Every day our lives are influenced by people in positions of authority: people whose role or job gives authority to regulate or control some part of our lives. For example, elected officials and those they hire to assist them are in positions of authority, and may have a great deal of power.
People who are well qualified to exercise authority can make our lives easier and better.
Unqualified people in positions of authority can make our lives difficult and unpleasant.
Different positions of authority call for people with different qualifications—knowledge, skills, talents, and characteristics. Someone who is well qualified to be a tax commissioner might not be qualified to be a mayor. A person qualified to be a mayor might not make a good police officer.
When voting for people in positions of authority, it’s important to consider what qualifications they should have to do their jobs well.
Throughout your life, when you participate in the voting process, you will be making decisions about this. Under our form of government, we have the right to choose our leaders. It is important to know how to choose well.
Activity #1: Deciding Who is a Good Leader
If your children (and you!) learn to exercise these questions on a regular basis, they (and you!) will be able to rest comfortably in the decisions you make as you vote for the leaders of our country!
–> Choose someone you know who is running for office – whether it’s a local, State or Presidential race. Use this chart as a springboard to discuss and develop your own process for making informed decisions as an American citizen.
- What is the position?
- What are the duties, powers, privileges, and limits of the position?
- a. Duties – tasks or jobs the person must do
- b. Powers – the activities a person is allowed to do to carry out their duties
- c. Privileges – activities the person is allowed to do solely by rights of their position
- d. Limits – tasks or activities the person is not allowed to do
- What qualifications should a person have to do the job well?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates in relation to those qualifications?
- Who would you select? Why?
(If you prefer, you can open this chart in Google Docs to your own computer and use it again and again, and/or print it out and fill in by hand.)
As you may have discovered, figuring out who to vote for takes work! While voting is a right given to us as American citizens, it is also a privilege, and it comes with responsibilities.
Activity #2: Exploring Your Personal Leadership
By completing this activity, not only will you be able to recognize and appreciate creative, inspiring leadership, but you will also be able to help your children see and develop these qualities in their own lives…for their future good, and the benefit of the communities in which they live!
You can access other educational information and activities here:
- Presidential Election Activities
- What Your Child Should Know About the Election Process…and Why
- Center for Civic Education – About them: “The Center for Civic Education is a nonprofit nonpartisan corporation affiliated with the State Bar of California. The mission of the Center is to foster the development of informed, responsible participation in civic life by citizens committed to values and principles fundamental to American constitutional democracy.” source
- Techie Homeschool Mom’s Online Unit Studies – United States Presidency Online Unit Study
- Techie Homeschool Mom’s Online Unit Studies – Elections Online Unit Study
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