When you neglect to teach your children the importance of voting.
Raising Them Well:
When voting is emphasized in the household, whether they chose to exercise that right or not.
A group of young people were visiting my sons one evening and started talking about the election. Two men in their twenties revealed they weren’t voting because they felt their vote didn’t make a difference. My husband and I were stunned, dismayed, and confused. These otherwise intelligent, thoughtful human beings were rejecting a right many people died for in this country. Are they out of their freakin’ minds? Whether they chose Obama, Romney or Mickey Mouse, they couldn't throw their vote away!
The Hispanic friend said he didn’t care about politics, made it his business to not follow it, and was adamant about his nonpolitical stance. His parents (citizens of the U.S.) never talked about voting in their household, so it was no big deal to him. The African-American said he use to follow politics closely and felt that all the dirty politics and cheating would result in the bad guys stealing the election anyway. So what was the point? He came from a very politically aware family who talked about the struggles their grandparents and great grandparents went through to earn that right. Blood was shed, families torn apart, but laws were passed to give future generations of all races and nationalities that right.
It was “yada, yada, yada” to his ears. He’d heard that countless times before. Today, they had the right to choose NOT to vote. Their peers calmly disagreed with their positioning, but respected their choice. My husband and I were crawling out of our skin trying to convince these young men otherwise.
It’s true. We all have a choice. Parents can choose to not get involved. But I think it’s a parent’s duty to help their children grow up to be contributing citizens to this country by encouraging their children to understand and hold sacred the right to vote.
My advice to those who chose to instill this right:
- Engage your children in discussion about what’s going on in the world around them, whether it’s local, national or global
- Encourage your kids to pay attention to the news, and talk about it
- Watch documentaries and read articles about the Voting Rights movement and what that means to us today
- Volunteer on campaigns, and get your children to help
- Take your children with you to the polls to watch you vote
- If your kids are of voting age, go vote together as a family
- Throw an election pizza party to watch the returns
If your children vote – or if they chose not to - you can at least say you did your best to teach them their civic duty. That’s raising them well. And by the way, if they don't vote, MAKE DANG SURE YOU DO!