Yes, I am extremely thankful for the privilege of voting. But, even more, I love going to vote together as a family! In our family, we take advantage of this opportunity in each election, whether presidential or midterm.
Why, you might ask, would we go to the trouble of hauling all four kids to the polling place with us—even the ones young enough to be carried in, in our arms? Why mess with car seats and deal with six people in line, when we could just pop in solo and get out so much faster?
Reason #1: We want our kids to know how important our elections are—whether local, state, or federal—and how important our roles as individuals are in each of them. Sure, we can (and should and do) talk about it with our kids, but how much more powerful is it to take them along and let them SEE the process in action?
Reason #2: We want our kids to be very comfortable in polling places and with the voting process. One day (very soon, for our oldest) our young citizens are going to be casting their own ballots, and we want it to be a very familiar procedure. So we squeeze them into the voting booths with us and discuss what we’re doing as we’re doing it, and even our three year old can tell you how we turn the dial to find our candidates, which button we push to vote for them, and that when we see the American flag we know our votes have been cast. Hopefully by the time they can go out to vote on their own, there won’t be any discomfort or fear of the unknown, and they’ll feel right at home doing what they’ve seen us do so many times before.
Reason #3: Going to the polls together gives us yet another chance to talk about important topics, like the freedoms we enjoy in America, the need to be well informed in our choices, and how to evaluate the issues we face in each election. It’s one more way we can pass our patriotism on to the next generation.
I’ll admit it: I get a little bit emotional each time we go to cast our votes, and my family gets to enjoy teasing me about that. But they will also always know that I love this great country of ours, that I am proud to be a citizen of the United States of America, and that I am so, so thankful to be allowed a small part in determining our nation’s future.