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How to use family dinner to teach politics | Hajer Sharief

Twenty years ago, my family introduced a system
called “Friday Democracy Meetings.” Every Friday at 7pm, my family
came together for an official meeting to discuss the current family affairs. These meetings were facilitated
by one of my parents, and we even had a notetaker. These meetings had two rules. First, you are allowed
to speak open and freely. Us kids were allowed
to criticize our parents without that being considered
disrespectful or rude. Second rule was the Chatham House rule, meaning whatever is said in the meeting
stays in the meeting. (Laughter) The topics which were discussed
in these meetings varied from one week to another. One week, we’d talk about
what food we wanted to eat, what time us kids should go to bed and how to improve things as a family, while another meeting discussed
pretty much events that happened at school and how to solve
disputes between siblings, by which I mean real fights. At the end of each meeting,
we’d reach decisions and agreements that would last at least
until the next meeting. So you could say
I was raised as a politician. By the age of six or seven,
I mastered politics. I was negotiating, compromising, building alliances
with other political actors. (Laughter) And I even once tried to jeopardize
the political process. (Laughter) These meetings sound very peaceful,
civil and democratic, right? But that was not always the case. Because of this open, free space
to talk, discuss and criticize, things sometimes got really heated. One meeting went really bad for me. I was about 10 years old at that time, and I’d done something
really horrible at school, which I’m not going to share today — (Laughter) but my brother decided
to bring it up in the meeting. I could not defend myself, so I decided to withdraw from the meeting
and boycott the whole system. I literally wrote an official letter
and handed it to my dad, announcing that I am boycotting. (Laughter) I thought that if I stopped
attending these meetings anymore, the system would collapse, (Laughter) but my family continued with the meetings, and they often
made decisions that I disliked. But I could not challenge these decisions, because I was not attending the meetings, and thus had no right to go against it. Ironically, when I turned
about 13 years old, I ended up attending
one of these meetings again, after I boycotted them for a long time. Because there was an issue
that was affecting me only, and no other family member
was bringing it up. The problem was that after each dinner, I was always the only one
who was asked to wash the dishes, while my brothers didn’t have to do
anything about it. I felt this was unjust,
unfair and discriminatory, so I wanted to discuss it in the meeting. As you know, the idea that it’s a woman
or a girl’s role to do household work is a rule that has been carried out
by many societies for so long, so in order for a 13-year-old me
to challenge it, I needed a platform. In the meeting, my brothers argued that none of the other boys we knew
were washing the dishes, so why should our family be any different? But my parents agreed with me and decided
that my brothers should assist me. However, they could not force them,
so the problem continued. Seeing no solution to my problem,
I decided to attend another meeting and propose a new system
that would be fair to everyone. So I suggested instead of one person washing all the dishes
used by all the family members, each family member
should wash their own dishes. And as a gesture of good faith, I said I’d wash the pots as well. This way, my brothers
could no longer argue that it wasn’t within their responsibility as boys or men to wash the dishes
and clean after the family, because the system I proposed
was about every member of the family cleaning after themselves
and taking care of themselves. Everyone agreed to my proposal, and for years, that was
our washing-the-dishes system. What I just shared with you
is a family story, but it’s pure politics. Every part of politics
includes decision-making, and ideally, the process
of decision-making should include people
from different backgrounds, interests, opinions, gender, beliefs, race, ethnicity, age, and so on. And they should all have
an equal opportunity to contribute to the decision-making process
and influence the decisions that will affect their lives
directly or indirectly. As such, I find it difficult to understand
when I hear young people saying, “I’m too young to engage in politics
or to even hold a political opinion.” Similarly, when I hear some women saying, “Politics is a dirty world
I don’t want to engage with,” I’m worried that the idea of politics
and political engagement has become so polarized
in many parts of the world that ordinary people feel, in order
for them to participate in politics, they need to be outspoken activists, and that is not true. I want to ask these young people,
women and ordinary people in general: Can you really afford not to be interested
or not to participate in politics? Politics is not only activism. It’s awareness, it’s keeping ourselves informed,
it’s caring for the facts. When it’s possible, it’s casting a vote. Politics is the tool
through which we structure ourselves as groups and societies. Politics governs every aspect of life, and by not participating in it, you’re literally allowing other people
to decide on what you can eat, wear, if you can have access to health care, free education, how much tax you pay, when you can retire, what is your pension. Other people are also deciding
on whether your race and ethnicity is enough to consider you a criminal, or if your religion and nationality
is enough to put you on a terrorist list. And if you still think you are a strong,
independent human being unaffected by politics, then think twice. I am speaking to you
as a young woman from Libya, a country that is
in the middle of a civil war. After more than 40 years
of authoritarian rule, it’s not a place
where political engagement by women and young people
is possible, nor encouraged. Almost all political dialogues
that took place in the past few years, even those gathered by foreign powers, has been with only
middle-aged men in the room. But in places with a broken
political system like Libya, or in seemingly functioning places,
including international organizations, the systems we have nowadays
for political decision-making are not from the people for the people, but they have been established
by the few for the few. And these few have been historically
almost exclusively men, and they’ve produced laws, policies, mechanisms for political participation
that are based on the opinions, beliefs, worldviews, dreams, aspirations of this one group of people, while everyone else was kept out. After all, we’ve all heard
some version of this sentence: “What does a woman,
let alone a young person, who is brown, understand about politics?” When you’re young — and in many parts of the world, a woman — you often hear experienced politicians
say, “But you lack political experience.” And when I hear that, I wonder what sort of experience
are they referring to? The experience of corrupted
political systems? Or of waging wars? Or are they referring to the experience of putting the interests
of economic profits before those of the environment? Because if this is political experience, then yes — (Applause) we, as women and young people,
have no political experience at all. Now, politicians might not be
the only ones to blame, because ordinary people,
and many young people as well, don’t care about politics. And even those who care
don’t know how to participate. This must change, and here is my proposal. We need to teach people at an early age about decision-making
and how to be part of it. Every family is its own
mini political system that is usually not democratic, because parents make decisions
that affect all members of the family, while the kids have very little to say. Similarly, politicians make decisions
that affect the whole nation, while the people have
very little say in them. We need to change this, and in order to achieve
this change systematically, we need to teach people that political, national
and global affairs are as relevant to them
as personal and family affairs. So if we want to achieve this,
my proposal and advice is, try out the Family Democracy
Meeting system. Because that will enable your kids
to exercise their agency and decision-making from a very early age. Politics is about having conversations, including difficult conversations, that lead to decisions. And in order to have a conversation,
you need to participate, not sign off like I did when I was a kid and then learn the lesson the hard way
and have to go back again. If you include your kids
in family conversations, they will grow up and know how to participate
in political conversations. And most importantly, most importantly, they will help others engage. Thank you. (Applause)


  1. by Daniel Chiotis
    by Daniel Chiotis September 3, 2019

    If you teach your kids common consideration and respect for nature and human life and dreams, you won't have to teach them about politics because the following alignment with goodness.
    Keep trying to counteract the evil by using the same style as manipulation on innocent children and you will only be rewarded with the same.
    The more experiences adults have the smarter kids are because they have and open mind to see through different ages, While most adult Minds close.
    So manipulation is not the answer.

  2. NoMo X
    NoMo X September 3, 2019

    I like the idea of Fridays being a time to discuss family issues and how to resolve them with your children. I really enjoyed this TED talk.

  3. Silvia Paulino
    Silvia Paulino September 3, 2019

    Wonderful talk! Excelente practice.

  4. Jeff Jefferson
    Jeff Jefferson September 3, 2019


  5. Dark Ether
    Dark Ether September 3, 2019

    Next up for PED Talks – "Why Guantanamo Bay sucks and why ISIS deserves a second chance"

  6. bufunga
    bufunga September 3, 2019

    Smart people. This will definitely be a part of my family

  7. thecaneater
    thecaneater September 3, 2019

    You mean "Spread your propaganda and indoctrination to alienate others."

  8. Dhananjay Singh
    Dhananjay Singh September 3, 2019

    Best video on politics

  9. Will B
    Will B September 3, 2019


  10. Kitty crack corn and Idc
    Kitty crack corn and Idc September 3, 2019

    Politics and family dinner do not mix.

  11. CrunchyNorbert
    CrunchyNorbert September 3, 2019

    Is it bad that I flagged her as a demoralisation agent when I saw her headscarf?

  12. asdqrs
    asdqrs September 3, 2019

    Teach the children the dangers of Globalists and the clear agenda against western society

  13. shubhangi dongre
    shubhangi dongre September 3, 2019

    Quite liked the idea of having family dinner time to teach politics

    KINGxxMEAT KINGxxMEAT September 3, 2019

    Sure let's indoctrinate our children with liver ideas at the dinner table that's just bring politics into every facet of our life thanks dummies!

  15. ZOMBiE
    ZOMBiE September 3, 2019

    Politics is Cancer, last thing I would teach or speak about at the dinner table, at the dinner table I eat and at my bed I sleep. Period.

  16. DrewSorensenMusic
    DrewSorensenMusic September 3, 2019

    This analysis is wrong. What you’ve proven is Money has political power, not Men. Men just happened to have the money in some circumstances. But there have been many Queens in the world that have defined policy for many lower-class Men. So it’s not Men that have the power, but sadly it’s Money, an intangible object, that has power over us all.

    Even in your “democratic” society, the powerful (your parents with money) let you have democracy. But they could have taken it away just the same. And to that effect, it is your need for food and housing and money that buys these things that governs the fact that true democracy will never exist in a capitalist society, and “democracy” is only what is allowed to those without by those with the most, Money.

  17. Jason Frazier
    Jason Frazier September 3, 2019

    She said the few. That is not true. If you work hard enough you can dig yourself out of any situation.

  18. Jason Frazier
    Jason Frazier September 3, 2019

    And they formed the best country ever

  19. mappyhappychappy
    mappyhappychappy September 3, 2019

    If you start smashing the dishes, nobody is going to trust you with washing them again.
    The only thing I ever wanted to do at dinner time was eat.

  20. The clan 3,000
    The clan 3,000 September 3, 2019

    I really dont think so , dinner time is family time no ifs or buts , we give most of our day to the government im not giving them dinner time aswell .

  21. Sully Renzo
    Sully Renzo September 3, 2019

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  22. Cynical Texas Dad
    Cynical Texas Dad September 3, 2019

    It’s funny cause she lays out perfectly why we need exactly the opposite of what she is proposing.
    Repeal the 19th.

  23. Insertidd
    Insertidd September 3, 2019

    "the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter" – Winston Churchill

    Democracy inside a household wouldn't be bad, because it is easier to educate a few children about what their decisions might cause, but it is impossible to educate millions or billions of people about what their decisions might entice. We elect the politicians that share our views and goals, and if they don't do what is in the best interest of the people then they don't get re-elected. It's an elegant system, really.

  24. Cloud Dancer
    Cloud Dancer September 3, 2019

    You should use it to teach your Famiy Anarchy, not Government. This immigrant was not born here. Dont listen to this air head.

  25. stevebob240
    stevebob240 September 3, 2019

    It's a great idea for families to have miniature "political" discussions on the personal level. It can help solve disputes and learn negotiation tactics that can be useful outside the family as well.

  26. sonoki82
    sonoki82 September 3, 2019

    Why is she permitted to show hair, forehead and bare wrists? This is unacceptable in Scotland. Someone should inform her imam.

  27. Dark Ether
    Dark Ether September 3, 2019

    What a polite and well mannered propagandist. 👍👍🏿👍🏻

  28. Dark Ether
    Dark Ether September 3, 2019

    NICE TITLE PED! 👍👍🏿👍🏻 "How to use family dinner to weaken America and strengthen her enemies | ISIS Bride, head of Mujahadeed propaganda"

  29. Sam Iam
    Sam Iam September 3, 2019

    Feed the family gruel and say this is a meal in a socialist/communist society. Bon appetiet!

  30. dev0n james
    dev0n james September 3, 2019

    feminist corporate structure

  31. Dark Ether
    Dark Ether September 3, 2019

    So PED is doing the work of America's enemies now, do they think Guantanamo Bay is a vacation resort or something? imbecils

  32. chocomalk
    chocomalk September 3, 2019

    So indoctrinate your children into your ideology?

    Or allow someone without a clue on how things are run to have a say?


  33. Dark Ether
    Dark Ether September 3, 2019

    #MAGA #AmericaFirst #Trump2020 #GiftaGun #LWC #NotMyLatte 🥛

  34. Panzernator
    Panzernator September 3, 2019

    At family dinners, I learned the simple joys of being right

  35. Sobhan Risman
    Sobhan Risman September 3, 2019

    Not new things unfortunately

  36. Sittininthesun
    Sittininthesun September 3, 2019

    How about family dinner to teach morals and integrity? What we vote in reflects who we are.

  37. J
    J September 3, 2019

    I am sorry but the children are children, they do not have knowledge, experience, or maturity to make political decisions. Most people should stay out of politics, politicians prey on the emotional, inexperienced, and stupid. You are basically advocating recruiting children for use politics. Average people are not tools to be manipulated for political gain.

  38. S Singh
    S Singh September 3, 2019

    Good idea…

  39. Sheesh
    Sheesh September 3, 2019

    Swap politics for economics and you actually contribute positively to the world

  40. Rigoberto Sánchez
    Rigoberto Sánchez September 3, 2019

    Mexico: What politics? 🙁

  41. Bob Frog
    Bob Frog September 3, 2019

    I think most of us are sick and tired of the CONSTANT noise of politics.

  42. Jack
    Jack September 3, 2019

    How bout no!

  43. HeavyMetal 2000
    HeavyMetal 2000 September 3, 2019

    This title is moronic, if she was a native English speaker she should have said 'teach Civics' that is what got people up on their haterade. In the USA people talk politics like Dems vs. Reps or like sports its impossible to 'teach politics'. That is where the confusion is. Thanks for the words.

  44. Remy Lebeau
    Remy Lebeau September 3, 2019

    The assumption that if you don't take part you don't have any say is false and a dangerous lie. Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what is for dinner. Nothing could be more anti-freedom and against human rights. It doesn't matter if the sheep abstains from the corrupt system. If the wolves show up at his house saying they voted and he has to surrender or pay their taxes, the sheep has every right to defend himself against their tyranny.

  45. Jay A.
    Jay A. September 3, 2019

    what do we do about people with very strong political views that are based on false information, and the "activism" that goes along with it?

  46. steward joey
    steward joey September 3, 2019

    If you know politics , you can do politics
    If you have money, you can create your own politics.

  47. Jake Turner
    Jake Turner September 3, 2019

    Or and hear me out, you could not, and let people have there own beliefs, and not ruin family dinner with arguments.

  48. Eamon Brennan
    Eamon Brennan September 3, 2019

    My family used to have open and frank discussions at mealtimes… or fights, as we used to call them.

  49. Calamiro Asjcobeti
    Calamiro Asjcobeti September 3, 2019

    "How to use family dinner to indoctrinate your fellow comrade"

  50. Lucas Grau
    Lucas Grau September 3, 2019

    I feel that many of the points proposed are ridiculous. How can one sincerely say that governments like the American one and its foundation are antidemocratic? Not only that the whole thing about having a "democratic family" is ridiculous, in my opinion children should respect their parents and do as they're told, and if they have an issue they should mention it to them, but this whole dishes thing is preposterous. "My parents agreed but they couldn't force them" why because they are men? I don't get it, these are parents they can most certainly make them do the dishes. In essence, this TED looks nice from the outside but at the 2/3rds mark it goes sharp left turn, and I can't agree with it.

  51. Jack Cornelius
    Jack Cornelius September 3, 2019

    I'm of two minds about this woman. She has a good message for the general public. However she also clearly has a bias towards the old men who created the world she lives in. A world of extreme luxury compared to earlier generations. A world with problems yes, but every generation faces their own crises (thank god we aren't dealing with a world war). It seems to me she wants a leadership role without earning it. The reason we are lead by old men is because when they were young men there were very few women in political positions. These men accumulated experience and responsibility over time and now lead us. It seems incredibly spoiled to demand a leadership position without earning it as earlier generations have.

  52. زاوية زين
    زاوية زين September 3, 2019

    or just shut up and eat in peace

  53. Rojjiie
    Rojjiie September 3, 2019

    People in the comments are actual idiots,,, watch the whole thing before commenting.

  54. Prime Derivative
    Prime Derivative September 3, 2019

    It’s all fun and games until little billy disagrees with you and calls you a communist pig

  55. MrSmexy702
    MrSmexy702 September 3, 2019

    Lol that's one way to ruin a family.

  56. Pepe Stock is Soaring
    Pepe Stock is Soaring September 3, 2019

    Only leftist get emotional about politics

  57. ere zesh
    ere zesh September 3, 2019

    Change the playback speed 1.25x

  58. Zenn Exile
    Zenn Exile September 3, 2019

    "How to indoctrinate your children to your delusions." -Fixed

  59. Mohammed Jimmy
    Mohammed Jimmy September 4, 2019

    Great talk

  60. by Daniel Chiotis
    by Daniel Chiotis September 4, 2019

    There are actually some families that shut their children up when they have opinions that don't coincide with theirs by saying : ".. where do you think the food you're eating comes from or the house you're living in or the clothes you're wearing or the education you're getting.."
    …. this is family tyranny and that's another reason why the dinner table is not a good place for political type discussions.
    The older generation has this thing about them when it comes to crap like that. A double standard in many cases like the cliche " do-as-i-say-not-as-i-do"
    Even in America that kind of crap exists still today.

  61. B G
    B G September 4, 2019

    Amazing speech. And great example for many families with small children.
    Thank you.

    P.S: I am sorry for leaving a stupid comment earlier after I only overheard one sentence.

  62. Maryanker55 Anker
    Maryanker55 Anker September 4, 2019

    What a brainless dont wnt to learn that crap they wnt to grow up to do their own thing.

  63. Lochlan Simmons
    Lochlan Simmons September 4, 2019

    The part about men is bullshit, it's men who have you the right to vote in the US, now if you were talking about Libya, well just thank Muhammad.

  64. Dark Ether
    Dark Ether September 4, 2019

    Yawn, bringing propaganda to the dinner table? boring, if you ain't talking $$$ change the topic, the important question is, does the h$e guala guala 👩 💼 👉👌? and how much for a guala guala 👉 😲? 😈 itch cute and she talk a lot, but all I know is she fork a lot aaaaaaahh, AAAAAAAAHHH she Cuban? shorty looks Cuban, guala guala, guala guala guala, I'm livin like theres no tomorra, don't loan my style won't let you borra, if thirsty have a glass of soy wata #NotMyLatte 🥛 #GiftAGun 🥛 🤣

  65. Dark Ether
    Dark Ether September 4, 2019

    Propaganda, it's whats for dinner. #NotMyLatte 🥛 #GiftAGun 🥛 🤣

  66. Burry21
    Burry21 September 4, 2019

    That's one way of ruining the family dinner…

  67. Chu Ka
    Chu Ka September 4, 2019

    I do this all the time. Not Fridays only lol.

  68. Dark Ether
    Dark Ether September 4, 2019

    GTFO Gal Gadot wanna be #NotMyLatte 🥛 #GiftAGun #StupidWoke #SoyMafia

  69. Raw Bacon
    Raw Bacon September 4, 2019


  70. Neha Shah
    Neha Shah September 4, 2019

    Love it

  71. B Welkinator
    B Welkinator September 4, 2019

    I call BS: her family did NOT call in the neighbors, the cops, the local politicians, the national politicians, the rabbi (?), to these family meetings.

  72. rivershaze
    rivershaze September 4, 2019

    you dont do that, politics ruin everything

  73. 88blockNS
    88blockNS September 4, 2019

    No, NO! Don't bring up politics at your family dinner. You do not want to be that idiot, trust me.

  74. Filippo Cantone
    Filippo Cantone September 4, 2019

    Great Woman

  75. One Two
    One Two September 4, 2019

    Vote Trump

  76. One Two
    One Two September 4, 2019


  77. Dark Ether
    Dark Ether September 4, 2019

    So PED is doing the work of America's enemies now? thats not nice, whats next? cheering for ISIS?

  78. Abdur Raheem Ibraheem
    Abdur Raheem Ibraheem September 4, 2019

    Children in the village learn politics at a very young age compared to urban children.

  79. Catbus Driver
    Catbus Driver September 4, 2019

    "activist" "teach politics" and all I'm reading is "yet another annoying person who needs to justify a meaningless existence"

  80. Youtofatagum
    Youtofatagum September 4, 2019

    Another goddam example of liberal propaganda.

  81. All The Norm
    All The Norm September 4, 2019

    Dam she's hot

  82. Eli Redshirt
    Eli Redshirt September 5, 2019

    Family evenings and talks…..sounds like the south

  83. Santiko Restuadhi
    Santiko Restuadhi September 5, 2019

    can't wait to have a family and practice it to my kids 🤣

  84. Fair Minded
    Fair Minded September 5, 2019

    Such an elegant lady.

  85. D.Cipher
    D.Cipher September 5, 2019

    I think it was an amazing talk, and the analogy is well made.

    The cambridge dictionary define politics as: "A person’s politics are that person's opinions about how a country should be governed."

  86. whiteraven
    whiteraven September 6, 2019

    AOC, Omah, Presly, Tlaib, Merkel, Ardern, May….all great eg. of strong interlectual woman who f….. up their countries.

  87. swissgunner
    swissgunner September 6, 2019

    I think i will adopt this system … very good idea !

  88. Evolved Copper
    Evolved Copper September 6, 2019

    Bravo Miss/Mrs 👌

  89. Lieve Leysen
    Lieve Leysen September 7, 2019

    Congratulations with this speech and your courage to do this 🏆
    Thank you for sharing this and for sharing it crystal clear in a way that anybody can understand it 🤗
    That on itself is already an art that only very few possess.

    What you share here is not only of big value for politics.
    It also is of huge value for the education of children and for the harmonious life of families ✨🍀

    We can be grateful to your parents that they have raised you and your brothers with this system.
    A system that can change the life of thousands or millions of people into a much better life with much less stress 😊

    I hope you share this as much as possible online and offline and on all big social media



  90. Arjun Bharadwaj
    Arjun Bharadwaj September 7, 2019

    Inspiring Indeed.Wonderful Analogy

  91. Christopher James
    Christopher James September 8, 2019

    I’ve succeeded in getting my moderately conservative family members all the way over to race realism, traditionalism and generally right wing people now.

  92. Snow White
    Snow White September 9, 2019


  93. simone rovito
    simone rovito September 10, 2019

    at 9:07 you can see many white men in the audience are not applauding… I wonder why?

  94. watteflausch
    watteflausch September 10, 2019

    I really like this idea, but, how about teaching your kids to openly talk about problems whenever they arise and not hold a grudge against someone because he said something they disagree with? You don't need to introduce a specific "family time" to talk about these kinds of things.

  95. mmisbach
    mmisbach September 15, 2019

    Family Discussion Rules: Speak open and freely. Kids could criticize parents. Show respect and don't be rude. What's said in the meeting stays in the meeting. Can you afford to not be involved in politics. By abstaining, you are giving up your voice for change. The family is a political system, and good training ground for the real deal. #TEDTalk

  96. Kelly Violette
    Kelly Violette September 16, 2019

    “Resentment, anger, jealousy, pain, hurt, and depression are poisons that you drink but expect someone else to die. Life does not work that way. Most people take lifetimes to understand this simple truth.”
    ―     Sadhguru,   Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy

  97. Kelly Violette
    Kelly Violette September 16, 2019

    “people who have failed in their lives, they are suffering their failure. People who have succeeded in their life, they are suffering their success.”
    ―     Jaggi Vasudev,   Inner Management: In the Presence of the Master

  98. fedzalicious
    fedzalicious September 19, 2019

    How to learn to be a politician…

    Be 'old money' rich
    Believe you're better than most

  99. Mahmud Alhabeshi
    Mahmud Alhabeshi September 29, 2019

    Great talk. Thank you very much

  100. Ruhweza Ibrahim
    Ruhweza Ibrahim October 16, 2019

    i shared this message to my fellow now everything changed in his family everything is now alright no more domestic violence

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