What was the first election that you really remembered? For me it was Carter/Ford in 1976. It was a tumultuous time. Even as a 10 year old, I picked up how important the presidential election was. Did I get that feeling from TV or radio? Nope. I understood the importance of that event from my parents. That is why it is so incredible for me to now share the experience of voting with my 5 year old daughter.
Voting is a habit formed when we are young, but so is not voting. Yes. Children learn about elections, democracy, and politics from many sources â€“ schools, churches, the guy standing outside the grocery store and, of course, the media. However, parents are by far and away the biggest influence in transforming that learning into action.
The best way to teach your children about democracy and elections is to lead by example and have them go with you when you vote. My wife has taken my daughter to every single election since she was born. They love the experience. My daughter proudly shows off her â€œI Votedâ€ sticker and talks about how Mom voted â€˜yesâ€™ or â€˜noâ€™ for this or that.
Today is Super Tuesday and the first time California has had their presidential primary this early in the campaign. For me, it was a much bigger day. Today was the first time that I got to vote with my daughter.
If you are interested in teaching your child about voting and elections, they are never too young to start. Here are some great resources for children of all ages.
Thanks so much for today’s post. You brought back some great memories I cherish of voting with my parents (dare I mention the first race I remember was Nixon vs. McGovern). It was always made to feel like a privilege and an honor. In those days we dressed up in our best clothes to go to the polls (but we also still dressed up to go shopping and to church – how crazy was that?). I loved the sound of the punch machine (ah, the good ol’ chad days) and couldn’t wait until I was old enough to do it myself.
I turned 18 the year Jimmy Carter was pitted against Ronald Reagan. I couldn’t wait to vote and with rare exception (like traveling abroad and forgetting to apply for the absentee ballot in time), I’ve never missed an election if I could help it.
I’m so pleased to see how you are passing this important lesson on to your daughter. It was 8 years ago that were all shown in dramatic fashion how ever vote counts, when Al Gore and George W battled it out, down to the vote!
Well done Bob.