Emma is really into the election this year. Cheers at the dinner table when she realizes it's a debate night, into it. Asks if I've thought about putting signs in the yard and bumper stickers on the car, into it. Meets someone new and whispers to me "Who do they vote for?", into it.
Personally, I'm at the point where I almost can't look anymore. I watch the debates, until I feel like I can't listen anymore. I simultaneously scroll twitter until I find myself wanting to scream in disgust and have to stop. I take a deep breath before I answer the political robo-call on my home phone.
But now, with a kid in the mix who's paying close attention and feels pretty strongly about who she wants to win, I feel more sensitive than ever to the nastiness that scrolls through the pages of my facebook and twitter streams, and spews through the television.
Emma's passionate. And she's passionate in a way only a ten year old can be about who she wants to win. But one thing I haven't been letting her do is make remarks about the other candidate that are disrespectful or rude. Maybe she disagrees with his philosophies or ideas or his smirk or his tie (c'mon she's ten), but still we require level of decency. "You may not like him, but you still need to be respectful." is my mantra. I don't temper her passion, but I do my best to keep it moving in a positive direction.
I don't say this in some holier than thou way, but only because geesh, I've been really disappointed in the childish, disrespectful and downright embarrassing things I've seen flying around social media. Maybe I need to swear it off (social media). Or maybe we need to find a way to share our opinions and show our support without spewing disrepect to anyone who might be listening. Keep it clean. Keep it civil.
I read this quote that a friend of mine posted on her facebook wall. It's an oldie thanks to John Wesley circa 1774. And I know. It's naive. And idealistic. But sometimes, that's how I roll. And it's one that's worth sharing.
"I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election and advised them to 1. Vote without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy. 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against. And, 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side."
Honestly, I'd love to hear from all of you. How do you approach this topic? Do your kids have strong feelings about the election and its outcome? How do you direct their "passion"?
*edited to add: reading your comments and thinking about this more tonight....thought I would take the liberty of paraphrasing the quote into words that are a good reminder to us all in light of tomorrow....*