On election day, I decided to get my kids involved in the process. I printed out some sample copies of our actual ballot held an election at our house.
“Daddy, this thing is six pages long,” protested my daughter. “Do we have to go through this whole thing?”
“Yes,” I said. “I want you to understand what it’s like to actually vote.”
“But I don’t even know any of these people,” she said.
“Many people feel the same way when they go to the polls,” I said. “That’s why it’s important to learn as much as you can about the candidates before election day.”
“At least I know the presidential candidates,” she said.
“And we know Mr. Hastings (one of our friends who was running for judge),” my son said.
“Yeah, that’s right,” my daughter said flipping through the pages until she found his name.
“Oooh,” my son said as he perused the ballot. “This guy is from the Green party. I like green. I’ll vote for him.”
“I’m going to vote for all of the women,” my daughter chimed in.
Over the next 5-10 minutes, my kids voted for their favorite candidates. When my daughter reached the section with the propositions and bond elections, she was worn out.
“Daddy,” she complained. “Do I have to read all of these?”
“Yes,” I said. “Because they are important to us on a local level.”
We spent the next few minutes reviewing the initiatives. I explained each item to her and we discussed the pros and cons of voting “Yes” or “No.” After careful consideration, she voted yes on each proposition that had to do with education.
Later that night, I talked to my kids about the importance of voting. I explained how women and minorities were not allowed to vote and why they must never take their right to vote for granted.
“But the most important thing I want you to remember is that you must always respect your elected officials even if you don’t agree with them,” I said. “You’ll have the opportunity to make a change in the next election cycle.”
“I can’t wait until I’m old enough to vote,” said my daughter.
“It’s an experience you’ll never forget,” I said.
Question: How do you get your kids involved in the political process?