The other day Big Kid said he would be scared if Mitt Romney won. little kid agreed solemnly.
That gave me great pause. Of course it's hard to retain total objectivity when you're passionate about something (everything!) but when we "officially" discussed the election, I tried with impartiality to break down in the most simple of terms why each party supported each candidate. I thought I always made a point of behaving myself in politically influenced conversations they were a part of and was cautious when they were listening. Heck, Big Kid was even a really big Romney fan at first and I supported that (it was difficult but good practice for when he grows up to be whoever he wants).
But they know who I like. And I have clearly discounted the fact that they are sneaky little eavesdroppers, paying attention to more than I realize and picking up on things in the most simple of ways and breaking it down to what they know; the idea of being scared. (I am not scared of Romney becoming president, by the way. I am worried about the current political climate in general though and I'm sure they've picked up on that. And that made them scared.)
"Don't be scared! Please! If I can teach you anything, it would be to be involved and active without reacting with fear because it's often impossible to get the big picture with politics. Mitt Romney is a smart, successful man who loves his family. He did really well in the debates--he's a good speaker and a confident guy and even if I don't personally agree with what he is saying, I understand why others might and maybe I'm wrong. That's the most important thing, a lot of people get really hung up on being "right" about who they like, to the point of refusing to be able to like even one single thing that the other guy has done or might do that could be good, and that just hurts the whole country. Both candidates are smart men. Maybe it would be better or maybe it would be worse but we get to choose again in another 4 years and not a whole lot happens in 4 years anyway, thanks to the checks and balances of congress."
(See how I said "checks and balances" and not "assholes"? It was a very mature conversation).
"So you wouldn't be scared if Mitt Romney became president?" Big Kid asked, looking me in the eye for any hint of dishonesty.
"...No. I would be disappointed based on the points we most solidly disagree on but I would have to hope it all turned out alright. We will all be okay, either way."
"Okay," Big Kid said. "But his vice president is crazy."
(He saw Paul Ryan's work out pictures. They made him uncomfortable.)
"Eh...he's a little weird but Mitt's healthy. We'll be okay."
(Because I was all out of diplomacy by then.)
Your staunch attempts to remain neutral in discussing politics with your children are truly commendable. So many parents try to force their children into a mold, as opposed to allowing them to grow into who they want to be. Such a generous and thoughtful mother!
I love the last 2 lines. :)
I have to agree with his assessment about Ryan.
I just freaking love this. There are far too many people that push their beliefs unapologetically onto their children. Teaching them about the process in an unbiased way makes more informed voters, and our country is in serious need of those.
I live in Wisconsin and get to see Paul Ryan every 2 minutes on TV - he makes me uncomfortable too!
Mitt scares me too! I am voting dem for the first time since the Dole election. Kerry
I am so glad that I am not the only one in the hugely uncomfortable and adult place of having to tell my kids that is "ok" for them to support anyone they choose - instead of telling them that they live under my roof and will vote for the candidate that I feel will best help us continue to have said roof. Both kids, at 10 and 7, have been bomarded with messages about this election, from tv, radio and even other kids at school. Kudos to you for handling this most awesomely. Now let this election be over so we can have Christmas shoved down our throats :)
Great job talking to your kiddos! I think it's awesome when parents can make an effort to help their kids think instead of thinking like them!
Linking to this post from my blog today.
Well done! That's exactly how I try to talk to my kids about politics!
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