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The one time I’ll talk about politics

The one time I'll talk about policitics

Emma is really into the election this year. Cheers at the dinner table when she realizes it's a debate night, into it. Asks if I've thought about putting signs in the yard and bumper stickers on the car, into it. Meets someone new and whispers to me "Who do they vote for?", into it. 

Personally, I'm at the point where I almost can't look anymore. I watch the debates, until I feel like I can't listen anymore. I simultaneously scroll twitter until I find myself wanting to scream in disgust and have to stop. I take a deep breath before I answer the political robo-call on my home phone.

But now, with a kid in the mix who's paying close attention and feels pretty strongly about who she wants to win, I feel more sensitive than ever to the nastiness that scrolls through the pages of my facebook and twitter streams, and spews through the television. 

Emma's passionate. And she's passionate in a way only a ten year old can be about who she wants to win. But one thing I haven't been letting her do is make remarks about the other candidate that are disrespectful or rude. Maybe she disagrees with his philosophies or ideas or his smirk or his tie (c'mon she's ten), but still we require level of decency. "You may not like him, but you still need to be respectful." is my mantra. I don't temper her passion, but I do my best to keep it moving in a positive direction.

I don't say this in some holier than thou way, but only because geesh, I've been really disappointed in the childish, disrespectful and downright embarrassing things I've seen flying around social media. Maybe I need to swear it off (social media). Or maybe we need to find a way to share our opinions and show our support without spewing disrepect to anyone who might be listening. Keep it clean. Keep it civil. 

I read this quote that a friend of mine posted on her facebook wall. It's an oldie thanks to John Wesley circa 1774. And I know. It's naive. And idealistic. But sometimes, that's how I roll. And it's one that's worth sharing. 

"I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election and advised them to 1. Vote without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy. 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against. And, 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side."

Honestly, I'd love to hear from all of you. How do you approach this topic? Do your kids have strong feelings about the election and its outcome? How do you direct their "passion"? 

*edited to add: reading your comments and thinking about this more tonight….thought I would take the liberty of paraphrasing the quote into words that are a good reminder to us all in light of tomorrow….*



Vote

The one time I'll talk about policitics

Emma is really into the election this year. Cheers at the dinner table when she realizes it's a debate night, into it. Asks if I've thought about putting signs in the yard and bumper stickers on the car, into it. Meets someone new and whispers to me "Who do they vote for?", into it. 

Personally, I'm at the point where I almost can't look anymore. I watch the debates, until I feel like I can't listen anymore. I simultaneously scroll twitter until I find myself wanting to scream in disgust and have to stop. I take a deep breath before I answer the political robo-call on my home phone.

But now, with a kid in the mix who's paying close attention and feels pretty strongly about who she wants to win, I feel more sensitive than ever to the nastiness that scrolls through the pages of my facebook and twitter streams, and spews through the television. 

Emma's passionate. And she's passionate in a way only a ten year old can be about who she wants to win. But one thing I haven't been letting her do is make remarks about the other candidate that are disrespectful or rude. Maybe she disagrees with his philosophies or ideas or his smirk or his tie (c'mon she's ten), but still we require level of decency. "You may not like him, but you still need to be respectful." is my mantra. I don't temper her passion, but I do my best to keep it moving in a positive direction.

I don't say this in some holier than thou way, but only because geesh, I've been really disappointed in the childish, disrespectful and downright embarrassing things I've seen flying around social media. Maybe I need to swear it off (social media). Or maybe we need to find a way to share our opinions and show our support without spewing disrepect to anyone who might be listening. Keep it clean. Keep it civil. 

I read this quote that a friend of mine posted on her facebook wall. It's an oldie thanks to John Wesley circa 1774. And I know. It's naive. And idealistic. But sometimes, that's how I roll. And it's one that's worth sharing. 

"I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election and advised them to 1. Vote without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy. 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against. And, 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side."

Honestly, I'd love to hear from all of you. How do you approach this topic? Do your kids have strong feelings about the election and its outcome? How do you direct their "passion"? 

*edited to add: reading your comments and thinking about this more tonight….thought I would take the liberty of paraphrasing the quote into words that are a good reminder to us all in light of tomorrow….*



Vote

17 comments on “The one time I’ll talk about politics”

  1. thank you. a thousand times thank you.the last few weeks had me hiding folks on facebook.i have a lways said to my girls, vote for who you’d like, but never disrespect the other candidate or those who support him or her.i can not for the life of me understand why there should be name calling of our fellow americans who simply are supporting the candidate that fits their needs.and then we want to know why kids bully one another? each election year sickens me more.i pray for our choices, i pray for our leaders and those willing to serve, and i pray for one another. i think we need prayers the most. xo

  2. I don’t look. I early voted a few days ago, so nothing that happens now can change my vote. It can only change my opinions of my friends over something that will feel silly later.

  3. My oldest is only 7, so I don’t think any of the kids really understand what the election is about, but they do have their opinions. They haven’t watched the debates or seen any political ads (we don’t have cable), but they know what candidate my husband and I favor. I’ve been surprised at how their first instinct is to get really angry about people who disagree with their parents. They’d never say anything to anyone’s face, but I’ve had to correct mean words like “I want to beat them up!” when they see yard signs. I’ve also had to explain why everyone gets to vote, not just the people you agree with, and why that is such a good thing. I think right now, I’m just dealing with general young child stuff. It will be interesting when they start developing their own opinions and asking more questions!

  4. they had a mock election at school, and she was so disappointed that so many kids were voting for “the other candidate”.

    she said she voted for the same person i was voting for, and i told her but you don’t have to. she knows.

    i like that she feels strongly about the issues and not the person themselves, i think that’s the best we can do. make it about the issues and the platforms and voting for who we think best matches our own, not making it personal.

    i had to laugh though, because i read this, just after walking from the kitchen where i was deep breathing my way through not responding to a political rant on FB.

    Agree. 100%

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have entirely avoided Facebook for weeks on end because I am so weary of the unkind exchanges cluttering my news feed. Yes, it may seem idealistic, but isn’t kindess really the underlying principle here? How can we instill this in our little ones when our lives shout otherwise? They are always watching and taking cues from us, yes?

  6. I’ve forsworn social media in November partially for this reason (and partially because I waste way too much time with it!) As I told my 7 year old in the car this morning, half of my friends and family are going to be thrilled when the victor is revealed, and the other half frustrated and disappointed, apt to complain and point fingers. And I still have to live and work with ALL of them.

  7. Oh my goodness, I love that quote! I think I’ll have to put that on my FB tomorrow!We’ve been discussing a lot in our house, just talking about terms like “conservative” and “liberal” or what abortion is or environmental issues and so on. I wouldn’t say any of my kids are passionate about the candidates, but they are curious — and sometimes passionate — about the issues. The past few days, I’ve just really been trying to remember to pray about it in front of them, not “May this candidate win” prayers but “May You work in the hearts of Americans no matter what.”

  8. My kiddo is six and completely disinterested. I have been avoiding social media political posts and even a couple of my favorite blogs like the plague so my opinion of the person is not swayed by their political views. My husband and I watched one debate on Democracy Now so we could get a feel for the 3rd party candidates and I think we lasted about 25.3 mins before I suggested it would be more fun to make out or wash the dishes or anything other than partake in the madness. The rest of my research has been done quietly and thoughtfully online alone. There are 75! various positions on my ballot tomorrow, thank goodness I printed off my list!! And to celebrate the end of the madness we’re having an old fashioned weenie roast & strawberry shortcake tomorrow night.

  9. Funny you should bring this up. I was talking about tomorrow’s election with my kiddos. My oldest said he was glad the day had finally come, so all the mean spirited ads and talk can stop. I had to agree.

  10. I wanted to add that I find it so shameful that we teach our children to treat others with respect even when they disagree, but as grownups we don’t shown the same respect. I remind my children that people basically want the same things; they just have a different idea of how to get them.

  11. Really good post, Molly. Having lived in the US for nearly 10 years, but not being American myself, I have to say that I find US politics really depressing. The levels of nastiness, of smugness, of egos is astounding. I don’t know how any American can choose who to vote for because I truely think the elections bring out the worst in the candidates. But the saddest thing is that that level of behaviour starts to be mimicked by children. I see it in my own kids (and we left the states in August); the way they relate to the candidate they don’t like. It is the same level of abuse and disdain. I honestly believe that once you start to see the candidates in black and white like that that you can’t make rational decisions about their politics. I really like that quote at the end, and I think that what you are teaching Emma is so important.

  12. Amen!!! I just told my husband that I’m so glad the election is tomorrow so that it will be OVER soon, for another few years. I am tired by the vitriol and hatefulness that I’ve heard from so many of my friends and family. I’m tired of people insinuating that if you don’t vote one way or another, you are “evil” or stupid. I actually just recently blogged about this topic, too – it’s definitely been on my mind!

  13. Love, love, love. Thank you for sharing!!! I have a 9 year old that has been very interested in this this year as well, and have had the same thoughts about being passionate, but not dishonoring.

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