[I intended to post this yesterday, but I didn’t get my usual computer time. (We had a glorious family breakfast out, instead!) Please pardon the verb tenses!]
I’ve been talking to the girls for the last few weeks about the upcoming election. I know it’s far too big of a concept for them to really grasp, but I’ve done my best to give them an understanding of our government at a three-year old level.
The girls know that we’ll be voting for the office of president. “We are going to vote because we hope that President Obama can still be the president,” they say.
We’ve talked on a very, very elementary level about some of the policies that are important to us.
I told the girls that a person’s vote is very important, but also very private. We are very proud of our viewpoint, but we respect that other people may make different choices, and that is OK.
I may have taught them to chant “O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!” though…which Hubby fears will get us kicked out of this conservative part of the country. HA!
The girls have already experienced some disillusionment, though.
The girls’ first disappointment came when they started talking about meeting President Obama. I realized they thought he would be at the polling station. When I told them we wouldn’t actually see him, they didn’t quite understand. “Well where will he be?” I told them he would probably be in Chicago. “Well, can we go there?”
I figured that Baby A could go into the booth with me, and B with Daddy, and I told them that they could press the button for the president.
The girls were looking forward to their adventure. B was talking through the order of events yesterday. “Mommy will vote, then Daddy, then Sissy, then me.”
I then realized I hadn’t fully explained that you have to be 18 years old to vote. When I shared that with the girls, my tender-hearted Baby B’s chin started to tremble. She thought she would get to vote, too!
(Of course I have to interject that our girls are probably as well-educated about the issues as some 18-year olds. I think they make pretty sound decisions, actually!) ;)
Despite the couple of misunderstandings, the girls were tickled to go vote yesterday morning. Unfortunately we had paper ballots, so there were no buttons to press, but Baby A picked out Obama’s name, and she scribbled in the box beside his name.
Both girls fed our ballots into the scanner, and they were super proud of their “I Voted” stickers. They came home and put them on the refrigerator.
“Why do you still have your sticker?” they asked me later in the day. I talked to them about it being our civic duty to educate ourselves on the issues and vote for what we believe in. I tried to underscore it’s something to be proud of.
And last night they asked when we would know if President Obama would still be our president. I told them it would be after they were in bed, and they were OK with that. (Mama, on the other hand, had a very late night…not content to go to bed until it was official.)
And this morning when the girls got up, I told them, “Guess what happened last night, baby girls?” “President Obama!” they exclaimed.
My guess is that their understanding today is no greater than it was a week ago, but I love having involved them in the election process.
Not just in this exercise, but every day, my hope is that I’m raising my girls to have curious minds…who will learn to think for themselves…and who will ACT with confidence and grace to impact their environments.