My youngest daughter couldn't have been more than five years old the day she accompanied me to the movie theater. A friend was going through a bad time, and I thought the diversion of a movie would help. Because I didn't have a babysitter, my little one accompanied us. The movie was Evita, the story of an Argentinean actress who married the president and rose to the highest levels of power. She was described as both the most beloved and hated woman in Argentina. At the end of the movie, my friend and I discussed the storyline. My daughter was shocked that we thought Eva Peron was not a good person. With a look I may never forget, she chimed in, "She has to be a good person! Didn't you see her pretty hair, nails, and clothes?" It took me a good while to help her understand that those characteristics did not match the biblical criteria for righteousness.
There have been other instances when she thought certain people would make good friends based on their outward appearance. However, eleven more years of biblical training in our homeschool setting has reorganized my daughter's thinking. She has developed the capacity to see beyond externals and analyze how words and actions reflect the character of a person and point to the authenticity and veracity of stated positions. While this is decidedly not a quick process, it remains a vital function on the road to being educated.
During this political season millions are being spent to portray candidates according to style and image. I laugh when I hear the tag line "I'm so-and-so, and I approved this message." Who wouldn't approve a message that portrays a candidate as friendly, engaging, strong, persuasive, and electable? The more important criteria should be that the candidate approves and supports God's message as outlined in the Holy Bible.
Parents can make good use of the primaries, conventions, and other political hoopla in an election year to break down for their children the candidates' positions across the boards and identify how much they are or are not in line with the Word of God. And, the notion needs to be dispelled that it pleases God when anyone agrees with Him on some things while "improving" on His ideas and directives in others. Nice clothes, hairdos, facelifts, and speeches aside, our vote needs to take into consideration that one day we will stand before the Lord and give an account for all our actions. Yes, even our votes.