First, we studied the need for political parties and created two of our own: the girls’ party and the boys’ party. Our second step was to nominate candidates for the two parties. Students were nominated and voted on for each party. After the class had a candidate for each party, the real fun began.
Students had a week to campaign. Boys had to campaign for the boys’ candidate while the girls campaigned for the girls’ candidate. They created posters, stickers, and other decorations for the room during free time. Opportunities to discuss leadership abounded. As you can imagine, the first day’s posters were pretty superficial. “Vote for Chris because he can do a back flip!” and “Vote for Brianna because she’s cool!” However, after class discussion, students slowly realized leadership was more complex than they had originally thought. Students wanted a leader like the God who leads their lives. Students wanted a noble, brave, honest, kind, and most importantly, godly leader. Posters slowly evolved over the week. “Vote for Chris because he is kind.” “Vote for Brianna because she is honest.”
The most influential moment of our election was the debate. Students created questions they felt would help them decide who to vote for. Students asked why they wanted to be president and what they would do if they were voted president. The candidates worked with other members of their party for days to create well thought out answers. They presented these answers to the class just before the election. Students listened intently using the answers to guide their decisions. We had two elections as the United States does. We had both a people’s vote and an electoral vote where each student represented different states.
In our class activity, we spent weeks on the academic goal of understanding the United States election process, but my students also practiced much more. They practiced working as a team, though only one person would be elected from the team. They practiced creative and respectful communication through different campaign methods. Most importantly, they practiced searching out a leader who showed evidence of God and humility in his/her life rather than qualities the world idolizes. I pray for my home country and our leadership often. I pray we can one day choose as a nation to elect a leader based on these qualities, but I will always take comfort in the knowledge that God will always be on the throne.