My ever inquisitive daughter asked me this weekend, "Mom, who are you going to vote for for President?"
I already knew where this conversation was headed. Call it mother's intuition.
Back in 2008, I felt strongly about taking Amara to the polls. As a kindergartener, it was Amara's first election experience, albeit making her tardy for school. The day - no matter the outcome - was guaranteed to be monumental.
Some in the family expressed it was unnecessary for me to take her to the polls. They believed she was too young for politics. They rather her be in class learning about shapes, cutting, and pasting. But I felt teaching Amara about government and current events was just as important as reading Dr. Seuss. (In case you're wondering, Amara was marked penalized for being late to school that day. The district apparently believed in denying my daughter a chance to be a part of history.)
Oooooh politics. Yes, it's a touchy subject. But I believe kids are more aware of their surroundings then we give them credit for. Even today, Amara may not completely comprehend our complex electoral process, but it's inevitable she will watch these events unfold in the next 57 days.
Yet, I was unprepared for Amara's question. I know my political views, as well as the often differing views of Dad2Amara, could forever shape Amara's opinion on political issues. I wanted to remain as unbiased as possible so I wanted to thread lightly. I want Amara to develop her own viewpoint. And yes, I am proud she will not be an apathetic citizen.
I explained to Amara voting is a right, but as citizens, we must be responsible with that vote. I expressed my opinion that all voters are expected to be well-informed, researching candidates and issues, before casting their ballots. And I affirmed how our rule of being respectful of others is as relevant as ever during an election year - even if you disagree with someone's vote, she must be open to their opinion and act civilly.
That was it.
I stayed silent, even though I am confident I know for whom I will be voting. I didn't even hint at it to my nine-year-old daughter. I want her to grow to be her own person, having her own opinion.
Classless and disrespectful as it may be, I can't control how others - red or blue - behave. But I am able to speak to Amara about issues facing our country. I can shield her from political rhetoric in the media until she is of an age where she can fully interpret it herself.
But I can encourage my daughter to be an active and engaged member of society. I can help Amara understand current events affecting our country.
So please, don't ask my daughter to decide just yet. She has four...I mean nine more years.
As always, if you see a Mom sitting alone at a restaurant or in the library, it’s likely me. Come say hello.
Do you give both sides of a political issue when talking to your children? Did you try to instill your political views on your children at a young age? What age is appropriate for children to learn about government?