I love politics. I love being educated on issues and having intelligent debates. I am a business woman, a mother, a Christian, a fiscal conservative, pro-gay equality, undecided on a lot of issues Republican. I'm a happy hodge podge, which is certainly how I hope most Americans are.
I had an interesting discussion with one of my students last night. She is a very intelligent, well informed 15 year old. Her parents have raised her very well. She's knowledgable and is one of few high schoolers I've ever met that has formed their own opinions, based not on parents or what's cool, but what she really honestly believes. She was telling me how she has already decided that she's going to register one of the two major parties so she can vote in primaries but isn't going to hold herself to her party when it comes to the final presidential election each time.
To this young girl's parents...I give you a standing ovation.
Too often, way too often, I see my students voicing the popular opinion or regurgitating what they hear at home or from teachers without being able to give any reasons they feel that way or believe in that side of an issue. That doesn't fly with me.
It's unfair to "raise your children Republican" or "raise your children Democrat."
There's an episode of 7th Heaven that I think of all the time. Lucy Camden is curious about religion and interested in exploring different religions, even though her father is a protestant minister. Rev. Camden indluges Lucy in this quest. He gives her books to read, information and answers any questions she has to the best of his knowledge. He is open, even though I'm sure if he was a real person going through this with real daughter, it'd be eating him up inside. ;)
The point I'm tryin to make is this. Do I hope my kiddos grow up and have similar views and opinions as I do? Of course. What parent wouldn't want that? But what I'm not going to do is say that "WE believe this..." and "WE believe that..." I'm pledging to say "I believe in fiscal responsibility especially pertaining to the national debt and small business owners" or "I believe in the death penalty" and then I'll follow up with my reasons and ask my kids what they think, what questions they have, what opinions they want to form. I want my children to be well educated on all sides of issues. I want them to explore, research and question. Nothing ever gets changed if we just follow blindly in the footsteps of those before us. We must question. We must explore. We must seek change where we believe change is necessary.
Our country was founded because religious pilgrims in England dared to form their own opinions and seek answers in a new land. Imagine if those people had just stayed the course of their parents, walking in the path worn down by so many others. It's imperative to ask questions, seek answers from all sorts of people and allow your opinions to be different from those around you.
I will accompany my children to the voting booth when it is time for their first elections. I will stand proudly by as they select the candidate they honestly believe will be the best for each position...city, state or federal. I will teach them to respect the President and all elected officials, until they do something criminal that tarnishes that respect. Criminal, not just something we don't like or necessarily agree with. Like it or not, elected officials get elected because people voted them in to office. There's no question in this election who earned the title of President. (And thankfully so. Regardless of whom you vote for, it's always better to have it be a clear cut win or loss then a nail biter.)
I hope my children grow up in an atmosphere of questioning, curiosity and information. I hope they read the papers, digest the information and allow their opinions to change as they grow and change. I know mine certainly have...4 years ago voting, my personl "hot button issues" were totally different than my current issues. I've grown, I've change and I allowed my views to grow and change along with me. I vote for the person I honestly believe will do best...and that's the best anyone can do.