I am very proud to say that Election Day is a huge event for my family. Ever since my boys were born, I have taken them to vote with me in each primary, runoff, midterm and general election. Both have the distinct honor of touching the screen to vote for President Obama before they were six months old.
For our children who are growing up in a “post-racial era” the lessons of how African Americans gained the right to vote may seem distant. As parents, my husband and I feel that we need to remind our children that the fight for the right to vote was not an easy one and it should never be taken for granted.
In the days leading up to the election, my husband, 21-year-old daughter and I have serious conversations about the stance on issues and who we feel will best represent our interests. My husband and I have been known to disagree on the issues and cross family lines to choose the candidate who we each think is best. We intentionally don’t sway the perspective of our 21-year-old but review the ballot with her for the candidate bios, background on any referendums and provide her with plenty of materials from unbiased sources.
On voting day, we take all of our children to vote because we want to teach them the importance of having their voices and interests heard. It also offers us the opportunity to reinforce that voting is the way to make a decision for the group. The younger two (two and six) don’t quite understand this importance on the national scale but we’re training our children up in the way they should go and know. It even makes them better citizens in their classrooms because they understand that raising their hand to vote means the group has made a decision together and everyone must abide by the group decision.
In the evening after the polls close, we all settle in to watch the returns like it’s a party. We turn on the TV and have popcorn. We love seeing the map light up and change for national elections but even for local elections, we like seeing the results of the races and learning who will be leading our community in the years to come. Election Day is one of those nights that we’ll always remember because it changes to the course our world.
So how will your family prepare for Election Day? Do you have a special celebration planned?