Some of you may have heard about the thing that happened at the US Capital in Washington, DC in the USA. Some of you may not. It was in newspapers, on the tv news and on the internet. Some grownups may have told you about it because they think kids should know what’s happening in the world. Other grownups may have not because they don’t want to scare kids.

Do YOU think kids should know about bad things that are happening in the world? Why or why not?

Teachers have the job to think about kids brains and what is good for making their minds stronger so they can grow up to be smart and wise. Teachers know that kids can do big thinking and that kids can be very brave, so we are going to tell you about the thing that happened at the US Capital.

Are you ready for the story?

On Wednesday, January 6, 2021 a group of people went to Washington DC to protest. Protest means people were angry and disagreed with the government about something. Protesting is an important part of democracy. Democracy means a system where the people choose the government leaders. Protesting is important to democracy because it means the people can stand up and say they disagree.

In a democracy, people vote to choose the leaders. There are many countries that are democracies. You have to be 18 years old to vote and a citizen of the country you live in. Even though YOU aren’t 18 yet, you ARE a citizen of your school. That means you are on your school team and that you are an important part of your school community. As a citizen of your school you have to work, help and learn. You have jobs and responsibilities that help keep the school working.

What are some things you as a citizen of your school do to help the community? What makes kids good school citizens?

One of the most important parts of being a good citizen is to be informed about the government so people can make sure they vote for leaders who are making wise choices. It can be a lot of work knowing all of the things that are happening in the world, so newspapers, tv news and the internet help tell people what’s going on. People who write the news are called journalists. Journalists went to college to learn how to research, write and prove what they are saying. Journalists ask questions to people in government and write what they say to try to help people understand what’s happening. Journalists work is so important to democracy, it’s written into the Constitution. The Constitution is a list of all the rules of the USA.

Some leaders don’t like journalists because they tell the truth to the people. They try to get news sources that tell the truth to go out of business. Then they work to get news companies that will only tell the things they like to hear, even if it’s a lie. Leaders who are doing bad things often want to hide the things they are doing. If you’ve ever read the book The Lorax by Dr Seuss, you will notice the Once-ler never shows his face. Some leaders want to do the sneaky-sneak and don’t want the people to know the things they are doing, so they hide and say that truth news is lies. They might even try to put the journalists in jail so they can’t tell the people what’s really going on. It’s happening in lots of places right now all over the world.

Truth and lies are a BIG part of this story. When you do something wrong, do you think telling the truth about it is important? Why or why not?

The people who went to Washington DC on January 6, 2021 went to protest because they believed what a leader, called the President, told them about the election. In November, there was an election and the President lost. He got voted out by the people. The President was angry and said the vote wasn’t fair. He went to court to try to prove it. The court said he was wrong, but he still didn’t agree. He called other leaders and asked them to throw out and hide people’s votes so he could still win. They said no. He got mad and called them names. He told his whole team that everyone was wrong and that people cheated and he actually won. He told everyone that it was actually the journalists telling lies in the news and that the judges and other government leaders were all working together to go against him. Some people who were on his team said he was wrong and they broke away, but a lot of people on his team said that he was right. They believed what he told them. They believed that all the news was bad and fake and only what he was saying was the truth.

Have you ever been on a team that lost? How did it feel to lose? When you lose should you say the other team cheated? Why or why not?

Cheating sometimes does actually happen, that’s why referees, judges and facts are important. All the judges, facts and referees of the election said there was no cheating, but the group that came to the US Capital on January 6, 2021 believed the leader SO MUCH that some of them wanted to break into the government building called the US Capital to stop them from saying the leader lost. They were angry. Some of them even wanted to hurt the people who said there wasn’t cheating. Some of them wore shirts that said hurting people was a good idea. Some of them broke into the US Capital and went looking for the leaders. They said they didn’t want to hurt anyone, but people did get hurt. People even died trying to stop them. They scared a lot of people because they were breaking the law and not listening to the facts. It is a scary time in the USA because these people wanted to defend the leader SO MUCH they wouldn’t listen to facts, the news or to what the citizens of the country decided in the vote.

There are companies that study where people go on the computer and then try to figure out what lies people might believe. Once they get people to believe a small lie, they tell them more and more lies until people don’t even know what’s true or false anymore. They want to get people angry and confused so they make bad decisions. This is why teachers always want you to ask questions and to walk away when something doesn’t feel right.

Do you think it’s easy or hard to walk away when something doesn’t feel right to you? Why or why not?

Truth can be a tricky thing sometimes because there can be mistakes. People might not have all of the facts or have their facts wrong, but they still believe that their thinking is right. They might even believe it SO DEEP that they won’t listen to logic. This is why math is so important and why your teachers want you to learn and study math everyday. Math helps train your brain to be logical. In math, you have to prove your thinking with facts and admit when you’ve made a mistake. In math, it’s extra good work to be able to find mistakes and errors in logic. That’s what math is actually all about!

Look at the math problem below. Which do you think is the truth? Why? Can you prove it?

There is A LOT more to this story, but today’s piece is to try to help you get thinking about why telling the truth is so important and why you should always be thinking, “does this make sense”? Being brave enough to walk away when you think people might be trying to lead you down a wrong path is hard but an important part of growing up and learning.

We will talk more next time! Keep learning, thinking and helping one another! We are all here on the planet earth team and we have to work together!

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