Yesterday, my son reported back from a mock-election held in two second-grade classrooms that Obama won 100% of the student vote.
The day before, we talked about why I was voting to re-elect our president and what the differences between the two candidates were. If he was going to cast a ballot, even in a classroom poll, I wanted him to be informed. I try to be as neutral as possible about political issues I explain to him. But it’s hard, mostly because what I cared about most in this campaign would directly impact my body, my health choices, my bank account and my best friends’ rights to legal marriage. I ask his opinion, I listen, I tell him the other side. But it is true, I am biased. I want equity and empowerment for myself as a woman, and I also want change for the world my son lives in.
While we are still singing the happy song of re-election and hope in our house, I see that there is much work ahead to create that world that my son will grow up in and eventually vote in legitimately.
I asked other parents to join me in making wishes and speaking aloud the lessons we want our kids to take away from this presidential election, no matter who we voted for (or they did).
Here’s what moms said we hope our kids take from this time in their lives to a time when, fingers crossed and ballots checked, our country is in an even better place.
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Your family is not to blame 1 of 12Whether you come from a two-house family, are being raised by two moms or two dads or one parent or grandparents or in the foster system, the family you have is not singularly to blame for the state of education, welfare, gun violence or any other systemic ill or sociopolitical issue. Our job is to be as healthy and happy in caring for ourselves and serving others as we can.
We all basically want the same things 2 of 12"I want my son to understand that everyone in this country wants the same things for ourselves and each other: a sense of security, the love of family and friends, good health, and the ability to pursue our own happiness. We may have different views on how to achieve those goals, but we're all Americans and together, we can achieve great things,"
Glennia Campbell of The Silent 'I' shared.
How the electoral process works 3 of 12
Beth Blecherman of Techmamas and her boys paid close attention to real-time voting maps on TV to show them the process as it was happening.
"With the new election tech," Blecherman says, "it is easier to explain how the electoral college works!"
Voting rights were hard-earned 4 of 12Without suffrage, the civil rights movement and voter registration mobilization, a large segment of our country would not be able to cast a ballot.
"Voting is the most basic form of civic engagement, and a right that many people fought and died for," Glennia Campbell reminds. "I hope he never takes it for granted."
Fair pay is worth the fight 5 of 12Too many people, and even women, shrug their shoulders at unfair pay practices that tear into half of our citizens' paychecks. Pushing hard for fair pay will not only serve families, it will be an investment in gender equality for our kids and their children, too.
We don’t have to agree 6 of 12"His vote matters, even if it's different from mine,"
Jennifer Williams assures her son. " Or if his candidate doesn't win -- The issues matter."
We are learning from kids 7 of 12Christina Wiebe, mother of a first-time voter, said the lesson actually came from her daughter.
"I was so proud to see my daughter vote in this election for leaders she felt strongly about," she observed. "She was informed of the issues and took her own stand. Some of the local people she voted for did not win, but that doesn't deter her conviction. She is determined to help our state dim it's shade of red. So I was the one that learned that she was really paying lots of attention the past 18 years."
The right to marry belongs to everyone 8 of 12I dream of a day when my son looks back on a time when same-sex marriage was not a universal right in this country and is astonished. I believe it is his generation that will ensure that everyone, regardless of the gender they claim, can share a slice of wedding cake with the person they love.
Reproductive choice is important for all of us 9 of 12Chipping away at a woman's right to choose and her access to safe, legal and insured contraception and abortion does not just hurt women. It has ramifications for their partners, sons, fathers, employers, and employees. To secure reproductive justice, men have to see the value of women's health care and fight for the value of women.
Every voice – and vote – counts 10 of 12The hard questions must be asked and the tough issues must be personalized,
Wendy Piersall says.
"I wanted my kids to know how electing our leaders can directly impact our lives," she explained to her teens. "What if we can't get insurance for our family because of our pre-existing conditions? What if Pell Grants are gone by the time you go to college? What if you earn 20% less money than you could have for the rest of your life? What if your best friend in the world can't marry his boyfriend someday? What if you get raped and have to stay pregnant?"
You too can be President 11 of 12"I want my son to know that his mixed race and single-parent home are not an excuse," says Jennifer Williams. "He can be anything he wants to be if he tries -- including president."
We are all connected 12 of 12"I wanted them, honestly, to cheer for the candidates who couldn't have been elected 20 or 40 years ago, and who only have a chance because we're raising a new kind of progressive in these kids,"
Sarah Gilbert, mom of three, shared. "The kind of progressive who values the inner worth of a person, no matter the gender, the color of skin, the pedigree, the bank account. I want them to believe in interdependence. We have to be in this together, that we are about giving power and support to all people no matter where they fall out on the percentages."
What do you hope your child takes away from this election?
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