Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Liberty, Freedom and Patriotism...GO VOTE!

This morning, as my 7 year old son accompanied me to the polls to vote, I was just smiling at the huge turnout. I was so full of pride to be showing Zachary how we check in, the ballot, how you fill in the ovals, check out and feed the form through the machine...how many people are part of this magnificent process. They've done a lot of mock "voting" at his school. Probably a month and a half ago, he came home from school and told me he had voted for President that day. And he told me he had voted for John McCain. I simply told him "Excellent! Now tell me why." He didn't have an answer to that question. I highly suspect he chose his candidate because it was what he heard many of his peers saying. I explained to him then that it's very important that he understand WHY he is choosing the candidate he selects and not to just "go with the flow." Yesterday, when I picked him up from his after school program, he was awfully cute. Over the past many weeks, he has heard many, many talks at home about the election, he has watched some of the debates with me, asked lots of questions. So yesterday he told me again that he had voted for President...and he said "mom, do you want to know who I voted for?" I said "do you want to tell me?" He said he did. I said "ok, who did you vote for?" He said (with a huge smile on his face) "Obama!" I said "Great! Now tell me why you voted for him." You know what he said? "Because I love you!" It's so simple at his age...so I told him that was wonderful and great, and that as he got older he would want to find out what each person believes in and then choose his candidate based on what feels right to him in his heart...that he'll have to make that decision for himself at some point. It's so amazing to be teaching him how to think about these things...and it's really eye-opening to think about how we form our opinions and beliefs so much from what we are raised with...I want him to (of course) have my values, but make sure they are HIS as an adult...internalized and suited to who HE is. He will get so much of what he feels and believes from being raised by me...I have to trust that he will find the best way to make that work for him in his life. I want him to be able to think clearly, critically, for himself...know the right questions to ask...and then, listen to his heart. Yeah, admittedly it is sometimes difficult to hear him say he voted for one person or another when it isn't who I voted for. I really did try to think "big picture" there. And so yesterday, after he told me who he voted for, he asked me "Mom, will Obama make the war end sooner?" I said I really didn't know for sure. He asked if McCain would make it end sooner. I told him that I didn't know that either...that I believed they both want the war to end, but they may have different beliefs and approaches as to how that should happen and when. Big picture...for a 7 year old.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Today is a monumental day for us and our children. Your story of your son has hit close to home since my soon to be 7 year old did her moch voting at school too.

I can actually look at my daughter in her face and tell her you too can be president of the United states too!

Your son sounds like the sweetest little boy.