Every day our lives are influenced by people in positions of authority: people whose role or job enables them to regulate or control some part of our lives. For example, elected officials and those they hire to assist them are in positions of authority and may have a great deal of power.

People who are well qualified to exercise authority can make our lives easier and better.

Unqualified people in positions of authority can make our lives difficult and unpleasant.

Use these resources to help your teen understand what makes a good leader

Different positions of authority call for people with different qualifications—knowledge, skills, talents, and characteristics. Someone who is well qualified to be a tax commissioner might not be qualified to be a mayor. A person qualified to be a mayor might not make a good police officer.

When voting for people in positions of authority, it’s important to consider what qualifications they should have to do their jobs well.

Throughout your life, when you participate in the voting process, you will be making decisions about this. Under our form of government, we have the right to choose our leaders. It is important to know how to choose well.

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Activity #1: Deciding Who is a Good Leader

If your children (and you!) learn to exercise these questions on a regular basis, they (and you!) will be able to rest comfortably in the decisions you make as you vote for the leaders of our country!

–> Choose someone you know who is running for office – whether it’s a local, State or Presidential race.  Use these questions as a springboard to discuss and develop your own process for making informed decisions as an American citizen.


  1. What is the position?
  2. What are the duties, powers, privileges, and limits of the position?
      1. a. Duties – tasks or jobs the person must do
      1. b. Powers – the activities a person is allowed to do to carry out their duties
      1. c. Privileges – activities the person is allowed to do solely by rights of their position
      1. d. Limits – tasks or activities the person is not allowed to do
  • What qualifications should a person have to do the job well?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates in relation to those qualifications?
  • Who would you select? Why?

Learning tip: create a spreadsheet in Google Docs as you discuss these questions with your kiddo. It will make this a tech activity while giving them added practice in organizing information!

As you may have discovered, figuring out who to vote for takes work! While voting is a right given to us as American citizens, it is also a privilege, and it comes with responsibilities.


Activity #2: Exploring Your Personal Leadership

By completing this activity, not only will you be able to recognize and appreciate creative, inspiring leadership, but you will also be able to help your children see and develop these qualities in their own lives…for their future good, and the benefit of the communities in which they live!

–> Watch the videos on this page:  TED Talks for Aspiring Teen Leaders and complete the accompanying discussion guide.


You can access other educational resources and activities here:

What are some activities you’re doing in your homeschool during this election year? How are you teaching your teens about leadership, civics, and their civic responsibilities – or are you? Please share your ideas with us in the comments!

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