Just as our children take note of everything else we do in our lives from our actions to our language, in a very real way they take note of our political involvement.
I was raised in a family where politics were discussed and debated. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by the type of adults who also took the time to listen to my uninformed opinions, who answered my simple questions, and who argued with me just for the heck of it. In the end, it educated me in a very basic way, but most of all it taught me to care. It taught me that those around me cared enough to know a thing or two and that I too should care.
Tonight I found myself in a position to let my children know that I cared. I tuned into both the Republican and Democratic debates. I piped them through the kitchen while I cleaned and the kids’ colored. I put them on the radio on our way to dinner. And on our way home my 5-year-old son began the conversation “Obama! Who is Obama!?!” That led us on to answering questions regarding what a president is, who our first president was, and the fact that we live in a country that allows us the freedom to choose (and that we live in America, not Mexico as he had apparently previously thought – now I know why he points to Mexico on the globe).
While we often times think that politics is just a bunch of noise, our active involvement, interest and participation is important. I realized that this was the first step in creating an environment where my children know that I care deeply about my country and what happens to it.
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Change was a constant theme throughout the debates. Many candidates raised several great points and had some great sound bites. But as mothers if we want to raise the type of children who will bring about change in the world we have to show them that we care what happens to it in the first place.
If you do anything this year, resolve to care. Resolve to be the type of woman, mother, and citizen that imparts that kind of commitment to your children.
So this year, don't just vote. Vote with passion. Vote having spent some time truly reflecting on what change you want to see in your country and most importantly in your local communities. Stay tuned to the Mama√ote Project for more good things to come in 2008.