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4 Things we can all learn during Presidential election season

4 Things we can all learn during Presidential election season

The Presidential Election is all over the media these days.

During this campaign season, there are MANY ways you can increase your knowledge – or help your children learn something new. You could sit down and watch a debate, turn on a news channel and see highlights of the candidates’ speeches around the country, or you could even just watch those wonderful commercials that are always so positive. Or, you could take it upon yourself to actually focus on learning something useful!

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As a teacher, I am an avid believer that we never stop learning – or at least we shouldn’t. Learning new things helps us to be better informed and more knowledgeable on subjects that really matter in our world, as well as allowing us to make connections to things from the past. What better inspiration for learning than our upcoming Presidential election? And who knows, maybe you will even be a more prepared and more knowledgeable voter to boot?!

What can you learn? Well, let’s just stick with four main core subjects in school: Reading, Writing, Social Studies, and Math.

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For starters: Read! 

There are several autobiographies on the current candidates out there that are really good reads! Of course, an autobiography is written by the person about himself or herself, so it will be written with “voice,” a term your children are used to hearing in school. We encourage them to write with “voice” so that when others read it they have a sense of who you are. These books are great examples of just that. These books were written from the perspective of wanting you to understand why they are where they are in life.

  1. An American Son: A Memoir published in 2012 about Marco Rubio. The first half of the book is his life story, including how his family migrated to the United States from Cuba – this is an amazing journey to read about!
  2. Trump: The Art of the Deal was originally published in 1987 by Trump himself. This book is part memoir and part advice. This book should be on the shelf of anyone who wants to learn about big business.
  3. Living History published in 2003 and about Hillary Rodham Clinton. Of course she has since published several other books, but this is the only one that focuses on her life.
  4. Outsider in the White House published just last year is Bernie Sanders’ story. This is a different type of biography and is really only about his political life, but still gives good understanding about his views and how he got those views.
  5. My Life by Dr. Ben Carson is basically the updated version of Gifted Hands. Dr. Carson’s story is perhaps one of the most inspiring stories you will ever read. Yes, the American Dream is still alive and well!

Next, what about writing?

Can you actually practice good writing during election time? Yes! There will be upcoming debates that will be invite people to write in questions through online sources. Take this opportunity to teach your child how to ask a good question. A question that is thoughtful, provocative, and well-ordered. Why not have them submit a question? Who knows… it could be chosen!

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Social Studies…

This one is easy… and very important!

Our candidates must answer questions about foreign policy, homeland security, and diplomacy as well as questions about working with Congress on issues like immigration. Take this opportunity to freshen up your knowledge about the global economy, who our allies are, and even things you might not really remember well from Government class.

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Use this election time as a teaching time to really show your children where places are on a map, globally, as well as our own map of the United States. Maps usually are not that exciting to children, but when they learn where places are and how things going on there affect us here, all of a sudden the map becomes a tool for learning.

Math. Yes, Math!

During our election season the Electoral College is referenced often. Understanding it takes a bit of research. Looking at maps where you see the numbers of votes needed from “swing states” in addition to those that the candidate will likely “get” is worth looking at and explaining to your children. Many adults do not really understand the whole Electoral College, but there are a number of resources online to help you learn – and this is a good, practical application of statistics.  Adding up the votes on the night of the election is really something you can watch on any major new channel and is quite exciting. Yes, math can be exciting (or upsetting… depending on how you end up voting), especially when it affects the next four years of our life!

So, get out there and have fun learning during election season. Then, get out there and vote!

Featured photo credit: Wally Goebtz via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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