My children haven't missed a single election since they we're born. Whether they walked or were snuggled into the double stroller, they were there. They will go with me again tomorrow. As the girls grow up I want them to understand that participating in elections is not an optional activity - but a responsibility as a citizen of this country. Simply put by HIllary Clinton, "Voting is the precious right of every citizen."
Raising children to be good citizens is vital. Helpling them to understand how their actions impact others is a major goal of mine. My hope is to teach them how to make good solid decisions. As years give way to years and they find themselves on the doorsteps to adulthood, I have no interest in telling them what to think. And I have no desire to tell them who to vote for. In fact I rather enjoy watching them argue their points of view. Even if the debate is presently about who plays fairly at recess time. The debate is important. The best characterization comes from Margaret Thatcher, "I love argument, I love debate. I don't expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me."
In 1989, I remember registering to vote for the first time. It was in the hallway at Jamestown High School. I was excited and thrilled. My parents never told me what party to choose. When it came time for my first election, they never told me who to vote for either. Their restraint is commendable, because I registered as a Democrat. It is safe to say that in my family immediate and extended - I am the only Democrat among them. However, I have often wondered if my parents anticipated that as I matured I would switch parties. And in there interest of full disclosure my mother and I do toss the issues back and forth from time to time.
However, my hope for my children is not just that they find their voice - but that they use it. Voting will allow them to speak on issues that matter to them, their household, and their neighbors. Ronald Reagan once said, "We can't help everyone. But everyone can help someone." Compelling them to use their voice at the voting booth is the first step.