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Discussing & Debriefing the Election with Young People: Five Tips 

 In Research

No matter the outcome, trusted adults need to #showupforyoungpeople 

In our team meetings leading up to this week, we’ve been discussing the election. During our most recent conversation, we came to a question: How are we at Springtide putting into practice the values we learn from our own data? In particular this week, how are we as adults modeling and showing up for young people as the results (begin) to be delivered?  

Politics is the realm where our private concerns and values are enacted in the public square—it’s incredibly important to recognize the political opinions and ideas of young people (whether they can vote or not!) as expressions of their inner and outer lives.  

Knowing the election results may take time, we realized there is an opportunity in this in-between, possibly uncertain time: an opportunity to hold space for young people’s voices to be heard and to start—or keep—engaging young people about politics.  

To that end, we pulled together a free guide with 5 tips for discussing and debriefing the election results with young people this week and ongoing. It doesn’t provide scripted, stilted conversation starters, but values to practice while discussing politics. It provides a framework through which you’ll be able to share your wisdom and hear from the young people in your life. 

You can read through the five tips in this post, and then click to download the PDF of these tips below. Today, throughout the week, and moving forward, be sure to engage the young people in your life about politics—and do so with Relational Authority: listening, integrity, transparency, care, and expertise.  


PRACTICE LISTENING: 

Let them talk more than you do. 

Listening starts with acknowledging that young people have political ideas and opinions, and inviting them into conversation about those concerns. 

41% of young people ages 13–25 feel like most adults in their lives disregard their feelings about political issues. 

 

PRACTICE INTEGRITY: 

Don’t be afraid to learn a new perspective. 

Although young people aren’t intimidated by disagreement, they need adults to model open-minded dialogue that doesn’t shun, shame, or disown others for having diverse perspectives. Commit to a having a discussion with real integrity by entertaining and learning more about ideas and opinions you may not hold. 

68% of the young people Springtide surveyed say that they would not stop speaking to someone who strongly disagreed or opposed their political values, 

 

PRACTICE TRANSPARENCY: 

Share experiences, seek commonalities, and be open. 

Only when you start sharing your own experiences can you discover the nuanced ideas, 

hobbies, friends, or favorite foods to bond over. Because experience is a form of knowledge, having someone who has gone through similar things in life gives authority to speak into and from those places of shared understanding. 

59% of the young people Springtide surveyed say that personal experiences make them passionate about political issues. 

 


PRACTICE CARE: 

A foundation of trust paves the way for safe political conversations. 

Trust makes sharing experiences and discussing difficult topics safer and easier to do. If you are a trusted adult in the lives of young people and they feel they can come to you with a range of other concerns, try inviting them into political conversations. 

79%  of young people say they are more likely to listen to adults in their life if they know those adults care for them. 

 

PRACTICE EXPERTISE: 

Root your conversations in humility and care. 

Modeling a humble expertise means listening, considering the experience of others seriously, and committing to 

continued education and dialogue.  

81% of young people say it is important to try to understand both sides of a political issue. 

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These five findings and insights come from Springtide’s latest report, The State of Religion & Young People 2020: Relational Authority. You can download the whole 120-page digital report, for free, thanks to a generous donation, or purchase it in print on our shop page or on Amazon for less than $10.

Debriefing the Election with Young People

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