“Yard sign! No punch backs!” Take A Child to VotePosted November 7th, 2006 by Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
“Yard sign! No punch backs!” is a common refrain yelled with joyful exuberance from my backseat these days. My two children, ages ten and seven, have taken politics to a new, uncharted level. They’ve picked their favorite political yard signs and made a variation on the “Slug Bug” game–the game where you pick a VW bug car of a certain color and whoever sees it first gets to softly punch the person next to them.
It’s safe to say that some short members of my household are going to be very, very sad when the election is over tonight (yes, tonight!) and the yard signs come down.
Tuesday, November 7th is here. It’s time to vote, time to remind all friends and family to vote, and time to… take a child to vote…
TAKE A CHILD TO VOTE TODAY: Why? Well, in the words of my 10 year old, “It sorta will help teach kids it’s good to vote, and it also sorta helps kids’ parents because their own kids might have good suggestions about who to vote for, and also the kids can learn their own little ways of how to decide who to vote for in the future.”
This is from the same kid who recently said, “If absolutely nobody voted, then we’d end up with a baby or bank robber elected to office–and no one wants that!”
Seriously, studies show taking children to vote with you, or even having them help fill out the bubbles of your absentee ballot on the kitchen counter, helps them remember to vote when they grow up. So by bringing a child to vote, you are not only turning in your own vote in the present moment, you’re also building our future democracy.
This is vitally important because right now more young people (aged fifteen to twenty-six years old) know the name of the fictional hometown for the television family the Simpsons than know the political party of their state’s governor or the political party that controls Congress. And, voter participation among young people has been dropping much faster than that of any other segment of our society. Bringing kids to vote will help turn that trend around, and ensure a vital democracy in the years to come.
VOLUNTEER TO WATCH A CHILD OR 2 WHILE A FRIEND VOTES: Okay, so it’s not always so easy to take what sometimes amounts to a traveling circus with you to vote. Give a friend a break and volunteer to watch a child or two, or three, or more while the parents take time to go vote. Heck you can start your own homework and traveling circus show while giving democracy a leg up. Maybe even throw in a speech to the kids you’re watching about the importance of them voting in the future and get good karma points for democracy.
BUG, BOTHER, SEND, & FUN: Bug friends, bother family, send e-mails to your entire list reminding people to vote today! And remember to have fun–make voting a snazzy field trip, a dramatic moment of power, a snapshot in time to recall in later years.
Then let’s cross our fingers that we all celebrate later tonight knowing we bugged, badgered, volunteered, and even lectured small children to our fullest potential!
Happy Election Day! – Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner and the MomsRising.org Team