I know that everyone just loves election time, especially this election. I knew it would come at some point with the inquisitive nature of my 7 year old son, and finally it happened and he asked me who I was voting for. He then went on to explain the he wasn’t allowed to vote for the POTUS but can vote for the officials at his elementary school. I had dreaded this conversation for some time and wanted to think for a second before answering him. I dug back and remembered and old saying and explained to him “If I don’t have a sign in my yard, then I don’t want you to know who I’m voting for”.
This response wasn’t out of malice but I know that he likes the same sports teams that I do and will repeat a lot of the stats and things that I say about my teams, usually how the Redskins keep managing to blow it when it counts but that’s another story. I want him to know that he should think for himself and make his own decisions. I don’t like hearing kids say that I always vote for party X because that’s what my parents always did without understanding anything about the candidate or the issues. He already knew the main candidates but not much more except who his friends wanted to vote for. We spent about 10 minutes talking about the different parties and what they had done historically and I found a nifty chart online outlining some of the major issues and their stances on each one (skipping over a few that he really doesn’t need to know about at 7). We talked about the political process and the branches of government. I talked about the impacts of each president and never mentioned a single scandal; I wonder how many people have actually done this because before this moment I know that I never had. An impartial view is so difficult these days but I pulled it off for the good of my kid and his thought process. We talked about how the people on the commercials were not nice and how they are required to say who paid for the ad since so many people aren’t being nice and many times downright wrong on those commercials.
Our conversation quickly shifted as he told me that one of his friends was voting for someone because the other candidate was not good. We then talked about the big three topics that we should not talk about with acquaintances or even some friends, money, politics and religion. I told him that he should not engage in these conversations and needed to be friendly but that could end a friendship because not everyone has the same belief system. It made me reflect on the fact that I do not always abide by these rules myself and can get sucked into it and really shouldn’t. I love having this type of talk with my son as he truly listens and wants to learn as much as he can (for a few minutes at least). These honest conversations are difficult but I think they are imperative for our next generation. They will be the ones voting for our benefits as seniors and who will be running the country, they can truly make a difference and allowing them to think for themselves is key in keeping this idea of freedom alive and well!
He then told me who he wanted to vote for and I’m very glad that 7 year olds can’t vote!
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