Whenever my husband and I argue in front of our kids, I instantly regret it. We’ve talked about how it can be good for them to see that even though you can get mad at someone, you forgive and move on. But, I’m not quite sure the words they hear us say to each other are good for them. So we’re working on it. And for the next 5 weeks or so, we’ll really have to work hard because…election.
While we agree on some issues, I’m pretty sure come November 8th, my husband and I will be voting for different people. Maybe that’s unusual, or maybe it’s not, but I know that it has led to some heated discussions around the house. Our country is always more electrified around a Presidential election, but this year I think we can all agree that the amount of electricity running through our population is close to causing a power outage. And that is what makes this year so important – for us and even more so for our kids.
When talking politics, I’ve found that you run into three groups of people. Those who say exactly what they think, those who don’t say anything, and those who take the easy way out with – “I don’t like either of them.” I admit that I probably fall into the latter group, but as the election gets closer, I am trying to research, listen and question, in order to prepare for my vote. The hard part is, when we discuss politics at home, it can be hard to stay calm. We both have our opinions and honestly, we both sometimes think the other is flat out wrong. That’s when we take a turn down the road of name-calling, exaggerations, and assumptions. The road we do not want our children to see us travel.
So we talked about this. As smart, hard-working, loving people – who deeply care about the future of our country – we talked about the example we want to set for our young children. They are barely out of the baby stage, so they do not understand politics. During the debate, I told our son that one of the people on the TV would be our next President. He asked for ice cream. But I will tell you – that doesn’t mean he’s not listening. He is taking in the words we say, the tone we use with each other and the anxiety we feel surrounding this election. As we decide, he learns.
There is a right way to discuss these issues. First, we can listen to each other. We can respond and discuss, but without the use of hurtful words. We can talk about the facts – after researching to find that they are indeed, facts – and weigh the pros and cons. If we realize we will never agree, we can move on. We can respect – each other and others who share their opinions. And most importantly, we can vote.
Until our children are 18, we are choosing their future for them. We are setting this country up for them to live, lead and grow. Our children may agree with me – or they may agree with my husband. Maybe a little of both. But I know we will set an example for them of what it means to live in the “Land of the Free.” They will not agree with all of their friends, co-workers, or possibly even their future spouses, but they WILL know how to respectfully discuss politics and issues. Because we are setting that example for them now. We, as parents, are exercising our right to teach them respect, allow them an opinion, and seek out the truth – and come November 8th – to vote.