What's Your Platform?

Why do you believe what you believe and post what you post on social media? People have opinions about this and that. They boycott this, but not that. They say this is “good” and that is “bad.” Sometimes they appear to contradict themselves. What about you? What do you believe and why? Do your kids know?

What’s Your Platform?

I was raised in a family of opinionated people who helped people form opinions. Chief among them was my grandfather who served 8 years as mayor of our city.

My mom held different offices in school PTA’s and was elected the president of the high school band and orchestra parents’ association. My dad was also elected to different roles of influence, including to our city’s landmark association, one of his favorites.

I’m not surprised my brother was elected to the Board of Directors for his professional association and then to the presidency. We were raised to have ideas and opinions, to be able to back them up, and to use them to influence others. If this wasn’t your history I hope you’re teaching your kids to do this.

My grandfather had a platform he ran on and then ran our city by. When hearing of someone’s ideas or having one of his own, he critiqued it in light of his values and priorities that formed his platform. He rejected good ideas he determined wouldn’t work yet. With winsome ways he built consensus when putting ideas forth to colleagues and decision makers. He confidently rejected out-right bad ideas that didn’t fit the values and priorities he ran on.

Politicians aren’t the only ones with platforms. Whether you know it or not, we each live by one. Stop for a minute and think about what’s on your platform. What do you believe strongly enough that it made it to this group of thoughts that serve as boundaries for other thoughts? How did you make your decisions? Where did the ideas come from? Are those good, reliable sources?

It’s important that we know our true and honest platform. Children will learn it when we discuss with them the reasons behind our decisions. Who among us has work to do to strengthen our platform? Who needs to get better at explaining what we believe so our opinions can influence our families and others? Let’s do it!

NOTE: This was first published as a column in the January 21st Celebrate Kids email newsletter. If you’d like to subscribe, you can do that here.