The upcoming elections and the inevitable election coverage have brought the issue of politics and children front and center for my husband and I. My husband and I are conservative with some liberal views. We tend to be more liberal when it comes to the environment, moderate with immigration, and conservative with just about everything else. I am not a big fan of President Obama’s policies, but you would not know it from speaking with my five-year-old daughter. Her favorite president is President Obama because as she says, “he looks so young! All the other presidents look so old.” She is also a big fan of John F Kennedy and John Calvin Coolidge for the same reasons.
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My husband and I believe strongly that we should not impose our political views on our children. Do not get me wrong. We believe that they are never too young to begin teaching them about U.S. history and the political process in our country. And the elections are providing a perfect opportunity for my five-year-old and I to begin to explore how and why we have elections. My head is spinning with ideas on how I can make that fun for her. However, she is too young to understand the complexity of why I may choose one candidate over the other. I can easily influence her to not like President Obama, but then I would just be taking advantage of her innocence.
Instead, my husband and I focus on her learning about the world around her, learning about God, and even at her young age, learning how to think critically. She already knows how important presidents are and the important things that they can do. Ask her about Abraham Lincoln or George Washington “who fought the Bridgettes.” She also has a great sense of right and wrong and an amazingly deep love for God. At her age, that is more than I can ask for. The time will come when her and I can have some great in-depth discussions about who is best to lead our country, but for the moment, my husband and I keep our opinions about candidates for “after-the-kids-go-to bed” conversations. In the meantime, we just get a kick out of watching her rave about President Obama in the midst of my extended family, all of which are Republicans.
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