"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My kids and the election

Oh, where to begin...

Two days ago, we as a country elected Barack Obama as our next president. It is, to be sure, the beginning of a new era for the United States, but also the end of a long and complicated campaign and election process. As always, we have involved the boys every step of the way. We've talked with them about the candidates, we've answered questions, we've shared our - at most times, very differing - views. We've discussed the issues. We watched the results as they unfolded.

And now here we are. This is what I hope my kids have learned, and will continue to learn, from this election:

First, I believe they already knew this, but I hope it cements for them that the color of your skin and the name on your birth certificate truly does not matter, that a black man, or white man, or asian man is no more or less capable of running a country. For that matter, gender doesn't matter either! This election brought Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin into their consciousness, and for that I am also thankful. Our kids are growing up in a time when racial and gender barriers are breaking down right in front of us.

Second, I hope they learned that it is up to them to research, to search their hearts, to form their own opinions. So that when the time comes they can vote their OWN vote, not someone else's. I hope they learned that even among family and friends (and at times, ESPECIALLY among family and friends) that this is one area that can prompt some strong, and vastly different, opinions and that that IS OK! I hope they learned how to respectfully disagree and to stand strong in their own beliefs. I hope they learned that they could support a candidate of their choice without feeling the need to disparage someone else's. I hope they learned that if something sounds too extreme - whether good or bad - then it probably is, and that the truth is much more likely to be somewhere in the middle.

I hope they learned the difference between good, honest campaigning and mud slinging. I hope they learned about sportsmanship. I hope they learned what a heartfelt and gracious consession speech sounds like, and why McCain was right in quickly shutting down the "boos" from the crowd.

Finally, as we move into the next four years, I hope that my kids see that this is a time for HOPE and not fear.


Sam said...

I absolutely LOVE you and your views. You are so right and I hope that my children got the same thing out of this election.
It is truly an amazing time to be growing up in. Barriers are being broken that a lot of people thought would never come down... it is just a matter of time before race and gender and sexual orientation does not matter to the rest of the country. It does not matter who you are on the outside... it is your inside that counts... and again I LOVE you and the way you are raising your children... so inspiring.

jen said...

Thanks for the support and kind words Sam!!


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