Dad when’s the big voting day? asked Ryan age eight.
Pretty soon, Tim Replied. It’s the first Tuesday in November.
Cool, do I get to vote for the president, too?
Well, no. You have to be eighteen years old to vote.
Why? Doesn’t it affect me?
Yes, in a lot of ways it does. But until you’re eighteen, I vote with your interests in mind.
Can I go with you when you vote?
That’s a great idea. In fact, let’s make it a family affair. The whole family will go together. I’ll talk to your mom and we will figure out a way we all can go, including you and your little sister.
The night before the big day (Election Tuesday), Tim and Angela sat down with their two children Ryan and Hunter, age six, to talk about the voting plan. In preparation, Tim and Angela read some information out of the newspaper to the youngsters about each candidate. Together the family talked about their feelings and concerns about each candidate. Ryan had questions about school and his favorite teacher losing his job at the end of last year. Hunter was more concerned about who was going to do all the counting and would they be able to count high enough.
After each person’s questions were addressed to the best of Tim and Angela’s ability, the family discussed and agreed that they would all go to the voting place early, before school and work. The plan included taking two cars so mom could go straight to work after voting while dad dropped the children off at school on his way to the office.
When the family arrived at the township hall early the following morning, a line of people extended out of the building.
Look at all the people exclaimed Hunter. Am I going to be late for school?
No, said Angela. They have many voting machines inside. The line will move fast, she assured him.
While standing in line, Angela reviewed the procedure with the boys. She explained the sign-in process and told about the volunteers who would be checking to see if the people in line were registered to vote and in the correct place to do so. She also explained it was their job to make sure everyone only voted once.
Once inside, Tim and Angela showed the boys the sign-in form and the big book containing all the names of the people who were eligible to vote if they so chose. Ryan wanted to know why some people would not want to vote. Tim responded by telling his boys that he wasn’t sure either, but reassured them they could talk more about it on the way to school.
As a voting booth became available, Tim took Ryan with him. Angela took Hunter into their separate booth. Each parent carefully explained the voting ticket process and read it slowly and softly to the child that was with them. The youngsters watched each move their parents made intently as if some how understanding and appreciating the magnitude of the task.
With the physical act of voting complete, the family reconvened at the exit door where Tim and Angela each received a sticker that read, I voted today! They promptly stuck one on each child and the children’s faces lit-up with approval.
That was fun, said Ryan, on the way to the car.
Let’s do it again, added Hunter.
We will, a different day, replied Angela.
The children and their father gave mom a kiss and piled in the car. Less than a mile down the road Ryan broke the silence in the car. So, dad, how come some people don’t vote?
About the Authors:
Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are the authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose. They are two of the world’s foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free monthly e-zine for parents. To sign up for it or obtain more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their website today: www.personalpowerpress.com.