Dr. Carole G. Hankin with Randi T. Sachs
year around this time the posters begin to appear throughout
the hallways. In schools at every level from elementary up
through college, shortly after students have settled into their
classes, attention is turned to student elections.
your child decides to toss his or her hat into the ring, you
may be soon faced with some decisions of your own. First, how
do you feel about it? Are you filled with excitement for your
child or are you worried about how your child will feel should
he or she not emerge the winner? How involved should you get
in the campaign?
parents will probably have mixed feelings similar to those
we just mentioned. Much of it will depend upon our own experiences
as children. Did we suffer a traumatic defeat or realize a
glorious victory? Were we bystanders to the process who never
quite understood what made those other kids want to put themselves
on the line by running to office?
best as you can, try to put aside your own fears and show a
strong, positive show of support for your children and confidence
that they are capable of reaching their goal.
child that does take the initiative to become involved in student
elections deserves your help and encouragement. How best to
fill your role will depend on what your children need. You
want to applaud their good ideas and boost their confidence,
but you also want to give the parental reminders that win or
lose, this election does not define their entire future and
is by no means their last chance to take a leadership role.
Your attitude can help them respond graciously to the results
of the election, no matter which way the votes go.
my daughter lost a student election in high school, of course
she was disappointed. We showed her that we were very proud
of her efforts and she was confident enough to try again in
college, where she won student government president. I like
to think our counsel and the lessons she learned from her first
attempt helped her to be willing to try again.
elections, our childrenís first experiences with the democratic
election process, should always be positive, even idealistic
forums. You can help by monitoring things like posters and
speeches and vetoing anything that comes across as negative
or criticizing the other candidates. Encourage your children
to campaign on their own qualifications and help them to identify
what makes them a good candidate.
piece of advice that is appropriate for any candidate: Explain
to your children that the elections should be more about the
voters than the candidates. Suggest that they let the other
students know that if elected, they will listen to what the
students want and do their best to accomplish those objectives.
Then on Election Day be ready with a big hug for your children,
and let them know they donít need an election to be winners
Hankin is superintendent of Syosset Central School District.
Randi Sachs is Public Information Officer of Syosset Schools.
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