Politics are always a hot button subject, and the agitation in this country seems to grow daily. The only thing we can all agree on, no matter our political views, is that voting is how you make yourself heard. You can make a difference. Your opinions matter, and your power lies in your vote. Educate yourself on the people running for office. Make sure you find someone that shares your views and your beliefs. Then vote for them on November 6th (or vote early!) — and make sure you take your children with you!
I know what you’re thinking. It might sound unmanageable or irrelevant to bring your children with you to vote. But there are so many important lessons waiting for them at your polling place:
They Will Witness People Creating Change
- They are watching you stand up for what you believe in. What better lesson is there in life? The choices you are making are not only for yourself but for them as well. They will be standing in line with strangers who are all hoping to make a difference. That is a powerful message that will benefit our children. I want my children to know that they don’t have to let life happen to them. They can change their future if they don’t like its direction!
Teach Them To Respect Other People And Their Opinions
- This is a lesson that crosses all areas of their lives. You are able to show them that people can disagree but still peacefully get their position across. It shows them that they can be friends with people that don’t always like exactly what they like. Its the grown up version of recess — “I like basketball, but my best friend likes soccer.” That does not mean you can’t be friends. It also doesn’t mean that you are better or worse than your friend. It just means you are different. And that is OK. And if you really can’t get past that they love soccer and you don’t? Show your children what it means to agree to disagree maturely! No matter how hard you try, odds are that arguing will not change anyone’s mind. It only creates tension and hurt feelings. Let us all remember — if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
They Get A Visual Demonstration Of Democracy At Work
- The process of voting might seem boring or uninteresting to them. But voting is a right and a privilege that not all people in the world possess. It’s importance should not be thrown to the side. As they wade through the process with you, they are learning what it means to be an active citizen. They will never know what it feels like to not have the right to choose their government’s officials. Or how different their lives might be without this right. But they can be present as you instill the importance of this power in their lives. They are watching you. And if the tradition continues, hopefully, they feel compelled to vote when they are eligible.
Show Them That Everyone Matters
- So many people don’t vote because they think that their one vote won’t make a difference. That is WRONG. Everyone matters. Every voice matters. Your thoughts matter, and there is power in your vote. I want my children to grow up knowing that they are an important part of this country. And when they show up to the polls, they will always be accounted for. If you have older children, discuss the candidates with them. Have an open dialogue about how each person’s position might effect their lives. Ask them how they feel about the issues. Then let them voice how it makes them feel.
Learning How To Win And Lose
- Elections are won and lost — usually with lots of negativity. Teaching our children to win or lose with grace and respect is a lesson that we all need to revisit. Somehow, our human decency can get lost as we travel through this political drama. We get to show them that we can care passionately about something and make our voices heard peacefully. And that the outcome will not always be what everyone wants. Odds are, they won’t care about election results yet, but we can be their example of how to handle defeat or victory. We wouldn’t want our children to taunt a losing team when they win the game. Nor would we want them to give up on a sport if they experienced an extreme defeat. So no matter the outcome on Election Day, remember that they are always watching us. Pride yourself on being the person you want them to become.
So take your children with you when you vote — even if it’s a hassle. Hold their hands, explain to them what you are doing — even if they are too young to talk back. Take pride in your right to vote, and show future voters the importance of participating. Maybe they will only be excited about the stickers! But know that they are learning valuable life lessons that day.