This week, voting opened up for us and we took our afternoon to go to the polls. I’ve taken my daughter with me to vote since I can remember. One year she talked a very nice older gentleman out of quite a few “I voted “ stickers. It was something I could do with her that I’ll look back on fondly and with pride forever.
Later on and as she got older, we talked about why we vote, how advocacy and determination for change gave us the privilege of voting, candidates, issues and about opinions.
This year was hard for her to wrap her young mind around. Just as I can’t wrap my thirty something year old mind around it. We saw so much happen since the last time we had the opportunity to vote. And, for me, it was hard to know how to respond while responsibly considering the implications of my vote.
But, I want her to see the effort in trying to understand others and the world around me. And, that I take my one shot at potentially changing the way the future goes forward very seriously. But, I was also clear that this “conclusion” was ever evolving and when I vote, I do so with the information I currently have to apply. That it’s not important to vote the way my parents voted, it’s just important that I take the time to research how I want my vote to count and what the count stands for. We talk about the hard stuff because when the time comes, she’s got a fight to finish.
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She has a brother on the autism spectrum and advocacy is just part of walking down that path. She will need to speak up and out. For him, for all. But, I can’t expect her to speak out without seeing me do it first. I want her to ask hard questions, demand injustice to be stopped, while magnifying other’s voices by using her own and make real change possible. And, she could. If you could see this child argue, you would know she could. But, she needs to be properly guided as to how to use the gift she was blessed with.
The future depends on our children. That’s not our road to walk down. Just as the one we walk down now is borrowed from our parents. They laid the groundwork and it was up to us to pick up what we could (and wanted) to carry on down the road. To help solve the puzzles and fights they fought while being confronted with our own new threats. But, the work doesn’t stop there. We must not stop until our children know they cannot repeat history’s mistakes. We must be better. We must be clear. We must be active.
So, today we went to vote. She may have been in the car while I ran in with a mask but she was still there. She watched as I voted what was on my heart.
This year, I realized that I can’t teach her solely from my viewpoint as the world I grew up in no longer exists. I have limited perspective on what the children see in this generation. But, I know I can show her that I care about where history takes her, her generation and the planet. So, I do that.
Because they did. Because I can. Because we can. And, eventually, because they will.
So, go vote. Little eyes are watching.