Children have their own, unique views on life and society. Sometimes these views are realistic, and other times they are not. Parents are the ones who are in charge of shaping their children's' world views and making sure that they are looking at life in a realistic and healthy way.

Education can have a lot of influence on the way a child views issues and reacts to situations. Take the pardons process in Canada for example. If this process was explained in detail to a child, would it change his or her view on crime and punishment in this country? Would this knowledge affect this child's behaviour as an adult?

Let's look at this issue from a child's point of view. Most children know their parents' weak points. They know how to push the right buttons to get what they want. Sometimes they even know when to keep pushing and when to stop. (Although, many of these children don't seem to stop until they get into trouble!) Basically, children will take advantage of a situation change to get what they want. For example, a tired or distracted parent might give permission for something that they usually don't permit their child to do. This behaviour does not mean the children are bad; it simply means they know how to analyze a situation! Knowing this then, is it safe to assume that a child who knows that Canada offers criminal pardons will view crime and punishment in this country differently than a child who is not educated about the pardons system?

First of all, it is never safe to assume, because one can only predict some people's behaviours some of the time; no one can predict everyone's behaviours all of the time. Some children who grow up with little moral guidance may be affected as adults as a result of growing up under the assumption that if they commit a crime it won't really affect them for the rest of their lives. Other children whose parents are committed to teaching them right from wrong would benefit from knowing about the pardons process in Canada because it could help to teach them about giving second chances to those who deserve them.

Children definitely understand second chances more than most adults. They receive so many chances from their parents day after day, and most kids will readily forgive a friend or loved one and not let a mistake ruin a relationship. Children may actually understand the pardons process more quickly than many adults due to their forgiving nature.

If you choose to educate your children about Canada's pardons system, it is recommended that you keep their innocence in mind, and choose your words wisely. Keep your explanations simple, and try to avoid talking about the more heinous crimes that children (and adults!) should not have to know about. Make sure that you point out the fact that the people who deserve a pardon are the ones who obtain them, and you can also talk about what they have to do to prove that they deserve a pardon.