Person voting

SO this is it. After weeks of intense campaigning, Malaysians will have the chance to make their choices at the ballot boxes. Politics has become a major topic of conversation around the country. Whether at the office, coffee shop, home or on social media, people are talking about their preferred candidates for the 2018 General Elections.

They try to influence others as to why their choice of candidates is better. They passionately point out flaws they perceive from the other side and highlight favourable ones on their side. Some even

go to the extreme by spreading unverified stories as truth. Emotions can run high at times.

During the campaigning period, many disagreements may have occurred. Hopefully, these are only temporary without permanent negative effects. Mature people can agree to disagree. They can engage in positive discussions, albeit heated ones, without resorting to undesirable methods. They can be on opposite sides but have no issues about having different opinions.

This is the hallmark of a mature society. Adults must always remember that the children are watching. When we fight over political differences in a negative manner, what lessons are we teaching them?

Healthy differences

Whether it’s political or otherwise, such fights can drive families apart. And more so during election time. Is it worth damaging relationships after years spent sowing them?

The same can also be said of friends. For example, we need to be extra careful when sharing strong opinions in the cyber world. Some friends may disagree. After the dust has settled, it’s best to proactively assure them that although they may have different political beliefs, they’re still our friends.

When we can have differences and still maintain good relationships, we’re sending a great signal to our children. When they see adults debating a contentious topic like politics in a rational manner,

they will emulate the behaviour with their siblings or peers.

Tell them that friends and family are among our greatest assets in life. They’re the pillars of our strengths and a major source of our happiness. Nothing can ever change that, certainly not politics.

As for the election process, the results will be trickling in soon. There will be plenty of winners and losers — and some not to our liking. Whatever happens, remain calm and accept them. Trust that the process has been duly carried out, unless proven otherwise. Avoid the urge to vent our frustrations in a manner that we may regret later.

“A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation”, said theologian and author, James Freeman Clarke.

Therefore, it’s important that we do this for our children’s future not just because they’re right there watching. Happy voting and all the best, Malaysia!

Zaid Mohamad coaches and trains parents to experience happier homes and more productive workplaces. Reach him at zaid@smartparents.com.my

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