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5 Lessons Congress Could Learn From Preschool

For many years, I worked for an advocacy organization where I spent a lot of time monitoring Congress. CSPAN played in my office and I read a lot of Hill newspapers and websites to keep current with the happenings of the 535 people who make federal laws. Eventually, I left that job to be a stay at home to my two kids because, frankly, kids are less infuriating and irrational than Congress. Also, kids listen better than Congress. No, really. Try talking to a Congressman someday. You’ll find yourself wishing you were talking to a preschooler instead.

Even now that I’m a full time stay at home mom, I still keep an eye out on Capitol Hill so I know about the comings and going of that wacky legislative body. As I listen to the battling press conferences from party leaders, I find myself thinking that what the country really needs is not more bipartisanship, but more preschool teachers to reeducate everyone on either side of the aisle. The women who teach my son’s class are masters of compromise and diplomacy. They excel at conflict resolution and peaceful negotiating. They can enforce rules and develop strategies for getting multiple needs met, with only a minimum of tears. Given the chance, I think preschool teachers could probably fix most of the major problems facing America today. If nothing else, they could teach our legislators some important lessons on how to get along with others.

Here are five preschool lessons I would like to see lawmakers learn as they start the 113th Congress:


  • Play nicely with each other: 1 of 5
    Play nicely with each other:
    My son always wants to play superheroes but his friend wants to play Transformers. Instead of devolving into a gridlock where they just yell and cry instead of playing anything, they figure out a way to incorporate the best of superheros and the best of Transformers into a game. If Congress could have been willing to try that approach, the fiscal cliff negotiations might have been smoother.
    Photo Credit: photo stock
  • You need to clean up your mess: 2 of 5
    You need to clean up your mess:
    Maybe the mess is a giant pile of Legos in the middle of the floor or maybe the mess is a natural disaster that wiped out entire coastal communities in the Northeast. In either case, it's important to make sure everything is cleaned up before moving on to the next thing.
    Photo Credit: photo stock
  • No one wins every time: 3 of 5
    No one wins every time:
    This is one of the hardest things for preschool kids to learn: they don't always win the race or board game. But they keep playing because, in the end, that's better than not playing at all. In the Senate, if someone thinks they're going to lose a debate on a bill, they filibuster, which is the legislative equivalent of taking your toys and going home.
    Photo Credit: photo stock
  • Finish your work before you go play: 4 of 5
    Finish your work before you go play:
    At preschool, the kids need to finish their lunch, pack up their lunch boxes and throw away their trash before they can go out for recess. So, why does Congress goes on recess every three weeks whether they've finished their work or not?
    Photo Credit: photo stock
  • You have to listen to everyone: 5 of 5
    You have to listen to everyone:
    In preschool, kids raise their hand and everyone gets a turn to talk and the teachers and other children listen politely, whether the person talking is your best friend or not. In Congress, they're supposed to listen to everybody but they seem to listen more attentively to campaign donors than to other people.
    Photo Credit: photo stock

 

Read more from Rebekah at Mom-in-a-Million The Broad Side. Follow Rebekah on Facebook and Twitter too!

Photo credit: photo stock

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