Kids and Politics

Well 2012 is officially here and with it brings another Presidential election. No matter what side of the political spectrum, you fall on I think we can all agree that we are seeing some of the most turbulent and troubled political times in recent history. No matter you stand on any political issue, candidate or piece of legislation there is someone out there waiting to bite your head off for having that opinion.

But at the same time, it feels as if people are more politically active in recent years then I remember seeing them growing up. Which says something from a girl who was raised by both an Irish Democrat (praise Kennedy) and a Catholic Republican.

But the two extremes benefitted me while growing up. Both my parents taught to look at all things from a very right versus wrong kind of way, and not come at issues form a political stand point. Basically I was raised to examine issues and politicians on a simple scale of rights and wrong, good and bad, no matter what political party stood behind the issue or person.

Granted, as I got older I eventually realized that the majority of the time that I felt something was “right” it did fall on one side of the political spectrum and that “side” is the party I’m registered to vote in.

In fact in my adult life especially during the last Presidential election and since I have found myself even more vocal and active when it comes to the issues I care about and there is no real way to avoid those views and conversations from trickling down to my own kids.

But despite my own views when my kids ask questions about things they see on the news or hear me talking about I try to give them simple and factual answers so that they can draw their own conclusions. I’d love for my kids to share my passion for these issues, but would never ever force them to agree with me.

Though generally they do.

I think, especially in this political climate, with the Occupy movement, the ongoing debate over reproductive rights and healthcare, immigration. We need to let our kids hear these conversations. We need to let them understand why people feel passionate about both sides of an issue. And most importantly we need to arm them with the facts and respect them enough to draw their own conclusions.

And, in my house anyway, when those conclusion do mirror mine I don’t mind including them in the cause (to a safe degree of course). I even took my son to a healthcare rally outside our local congressman’s office a couple years back. And when he voted the way we had hoped he would, my son learned that when we use our voice we could make a difference. And that politics do matter, because people matter. And all of us should be taking an active role in what direction our country should be headed.

How involved are in you the coming election and how involved will you let your children be?