Children are sponges, constantly soaking in everything around them. Each and every day, each and every hour, each and every moment. Their minds are observing and processing everything around them. Its why, as is often said in one form or another, parents are the first teachers and the home the first classroom.
We – parents, grandparents, caretakers, guardians, whomever - teach children everything first: language, writing, math and science. We teach them morals and work ethic. We teach them kindness and empathy. We set examples for our children. We are also our children’s first civics teachers.
Today is April 2, and it is an election day. Local elections are some of the most important elections to participate in. Local elections have the biggest impact on your day-to-day lives and the lives of your children. Voter turnout for local elections is also incredibly low.
I suppose this is a rather “off brand” post to start this practice’s legal blog. There is no quick guide, or how-to, or helpful links, or references to legal trends. Instead, words of encouragement and engagement. Garden variety legal blog posts will follow, but hopefully this post and others like it will speak to who I am as an attorney, what this practice values, and what I intend this practice to become. A practice offering practical, professional and quality legal services to families and small businesses, but also one that is engaged in its community and encourages others to get involved too. For now, I urge you to do two things:
- If you’re a parent/guardian, bring your children with you when you vote.
Vote and engage in your community. Learn something about your community. What are the issues facing the community? How should they best be addressed? Which candidate or issue means the most to you? Your community can only benefit from increased involvement, not less.
While you are at it, try to bring your kids with you. Whether early voting or voting on election day, have them with you. Show them it’s important to vote in all the elections and not just the “important” ones. Chances are they will learn little from the experience in the short term. However, bringing your children to the polling place will plant a seed and show them what you prioritize and believe is important.
I remember my parents bringing me with while they voted. I also remember standing around and not being entirely happy I was dragged out of the house and missing time that could have been spent in more “productive” endeavors - like watching tv. Yet, either through my parent’s conscious effort or as a by-product of them simply setting an example I learned that voting is important. It’s a lesson I hope gets successfully passed along to my daughters.
This time around my wife will get to take our girls with her while she votes . . . at the end of a work day . . . after our eldest’s soccer practice . . . before dinner . . . I suspect civic responsibility and setting a good example for our daughters may not be top of mind when she does go to vote! Only time will tell what my girls will take out of the experience, for now they’ll probably get “I voted” stickers.