October 18, 2004

Kids and the Election

It has been interesting this election season working with the kids. I can see how kids just pick up their parents belief system. Rhiannon is obviously a strong Bush supporter - though I have never given her the words - I always type what she says. We have had to help her understand that she needs to be more kind in the way she explains things and help her understand that even though she believes President Bush is the best option he might not win.

There have been difficult parts to this election with kids. It seems to be a very partisan and divisive election. We have had signs removed from our yard and there has been vandalism associated with politics in our area. To me that is very difficult to explain to children, heck it does not make sense to most adults either. As we move into the final days when we will be sign waving and door knocking again Serona and I have discussed how to handle if someone verbally attacks us in front of the children. We think it is sad to deal with this but feel we need to prepare ourselves for the possibility.

Perhaps it is because we live in a swing state. Perhaps it is because there has not been a real chance of the state going to a Republican presidential candidate since the 70's. Either way the way people are acting around here is not becoming to democracy or free speech. We need to teach our children better than that. We need to demonstrate to our kids that though we have the freedom of speech in this country there is a place where that stops. We can always express our opinions - but not through vandalism, violence and verbal assaults. We need to show kids that in democracy there are many different views and we all still can and do get along despite the outcome of the politics.

Serona and I may be fiercly partisan this election and strong supporters of President Bush but we have many family and friends and neighbors who feel just as strongly in the opposite camp. Yet we have not let the politics affect our relationships and the way we treat and talk to one another. We as adults need to demonstrate this for our kids. We also need to be prepared to deal with those who do not feel the same and wish to express it in a less than positive way. We need to use this time to teach our kids lessons.

Overall this election experience has been positive for the kids and for us. We will continue to involve our children and to teach them to be active and respectful citizens. Hopefully they will learn how to be solid in their beliefs but respectful of others, a balance that many find hard to acheive.


No comments:

Post a Comment