Later today, I will be headed to the polls…with four kids in tow. Some may think I’m crazy. The line to vote may be long. There are never any other children there. Yet, every single election, I head down the street with my children. Sometimes, like tomorrow, my husband joins us and we go as a family. Other times, when our schedules aren’t as easily aligned, I head with just my kids. And yet, I take them.
I’m setting a precedence with my kids. Voting matters. Certainly, they still have quite some time before they can vote themselves, but the outcomes of the decisions being made affect everyone, including them.
Politics are not something for adults at our house. We talk about politics. We watched the debates together. We asked our children what they thought about the issues, the politicians, and the political campaigns. Rights are for everyone, and if someone isn’t afforded rights, it’s our duty to do something about it. Just as our own rights were fought for by others, we owe it to ourselves and to others to stand up for everyone. Am I often disgruntled with government and politicians? Yes. That doesn’t mean I should become apathetic. It means I should work toward doing something about it.
My kids go with me to vote because it’s important to me that they know how important it is to have your voice heard. My children’s voices are heard at home, but that isn’t the case for every child or even most children. It often isn’t the case for many minorities, even those who have legal rights. I’m not throwing away my right to vote. I want them to know about my mother, their grandmother, and how she refused to tell anyone for whom she voted. She remembered a time when women were allowed to vote…for the person they were told to vote for by their husbands.
I want my children to understand that having a voice is a human right that should be afforded everyone. I want them to use that voice and to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. I want them to use their voices to make a better world. So later today, I’ll head to the polls with my children. I will use my voice and show them that they can also use theirs.