How to Raise Critical Thinkers and Compassionate Leaders with Sharon Says So
"We are responsible for the legacies that we are leaving online, the legacies we're leaving our children."
Before sharing non-partisan facts as “America’s Government Teacher” on Instagram as @sharonsaysso, Sharon McMahon taught high school government and law classes in Minnesota. Today, the Sharon Says So podcast is one of the top-rated podcasts in the nation, known for its interesting facts and stories about American history.
Here are some of our favorite insights from the interview…
How do we know if what we want to share online is from a reliable source?
It's nobody else's responsibility other than yours to determine what is appropriate for you to share online. Ask yourself, “Do I feel at peace about sharing this? Would I feel okay if my neighbor took action on this piece of information and it ended up being false?” We are responsible for the legacies that we’re leaving online, the legacies we're leaving our children.
Make sure to read more than one news source. Refer to wire services such as Reuters and the Associated Press for unbiased information.
How do we talk to our kids about what’s happening in the world?
Children can handle, need, want, and depend on us for the truth. We don't need to pretend that something isn't real. We don't need to say, don't worry about that. I think we underestimate our children's capacity for empathy. Children don't need protection from bad news, what they need is to not be alone in those feelings of grief or in those feelings of confusion. They need to feel like a trusted adult is there with them.
I love hearing your thoughts on parenting, how do we raise good humans?
I think it's important to instill explicit instructions in your children about what type of behavior is acceptable and what isn't. So often we think about just raising our kids and thinking, “I want them to be a worthwhile member of society,” and that's great. It's important to be a good person, but sometimes to be a good person takes really explicit instructions about what that really means. It's actually good to be a little afraid of disappointing your parents. If your mother cannot instill this information in you, then Lord help us.
What should we do when we feel helpless with the current events of the world?
The world is made better by a large number of people taking small actions on a daily basis. That in and of itself will create far more change in the world. Just doing something small every day with the resources and time you have available to you will have huge ripple effects.
Why do you think it’s important to study and understand history?
If you want to make change, you have to learn history. The nations, systems, people, and structures of government are all rooted in the history of that place. We have many wonderful things in our history. We have terrible things in our history. It's important to know all of it. We can't just be like, yay, best flag in the world. It is great that you love being an American, but you have to understand the full picture of our history in order to make change in the world.