Politics and Parenting: Why We Must All Take a Stand

This is not a partisan post. This is not a post about who we should or should not vote for in the coming election. This is a post about showing our children our opinions, our rights and our votes count. This is a post, that I hope, will encourage some of you to talk to your kids about the issues facing our country in the days and months ahead.

The dirty “P” word. It is not to be said in mom groups, neighborhood chats or in the workplace for fear of causing a difference of opinion, an argument or simply discomfort. Well, let me just go ahead and get this out of the way… enough with it already! We, as mothers, will talk about the dirtiest of diapers and the nitty gritty details of childbirth, but a conversation about contraceptive rights or gun control is off the table and much too controversial.

Here’s the thing. Political matters run deeper than the national stage of mudslinging and debates. Real change happens at a local level, and many of the issues talked about on today’s 5:30 news WILL trickle down to the ordinary family. From healthcare initiatives to statewide school funding, these issues creep in to our homes, despite whether we discuss or turn our backs to them.

The down and dirty truth that should make us all pause and take note: political issues are parenting issues. They are family issues, community issues and neighborhood issues. We, as mothers and parents, need to feel an inherent responsibility to have honest discourse in our homes and villages.

We are raising the next generation of voters, and we owe it to them to be informed on the subjects that not only touch our own homes, but the homes of other children within our towns, our country and our world. These tiny little people will become our next leaders, teachers, politicians and parents. How we vote today matters. How we demonstrate pride in our electoral system matters. How we discuss difficult, worldly happenings matters! Those little eyes are watching us. Those innocent ears hear us. In today’s world, where we have to worry about elementary students practicing mass shooting drills, the way we deal with issues MATTERS!

Version 2
My son’s Great Grandfather, a WWII veteran, who taught me the importance of political discourse. A proud American.

Our own mothers and grandmothers remember a time when women did not have the right to vote or their rights were not equal to that of men. And although we still have work to be done, we are closer than ever before. They, the generation before us, fought hard for these rights. Let’s not undermine their work by turning a blind eye to the issues facing the generation we are raising. My own grandfather, mere days before passing away, cast his last vote from his deathbed. It was eternally important to him. We had opposite political view points, but we both agreed on the importance to stand up for our right to make our voice and vote heard.

When we signed up for the exclusive right to be called “mom,” we also signed up for the responsibility of raising honest, informed and compassionate human beings. It is an enormous burden to bear that I know none of us take lightly. For this reason alone, let’s not sit back and watch the world happen around us. Let’s take charge, as we do in homes, and show our children activism is alive and worthy. I cannot bear to one day look them in the eye and say instead of speaking out, I sat idly by. We owe it to them to provide a world better than it is now, and one they can be proud to pass on to our future grandchildren. They are worth it. WE are all worth it!

Discussing politics is not boring or controversial. It is crucial to the improvement of our current lives and world we are paving for them to take over. I am raising my sons to not be afraid of discourse. By informing them now, and showing them activism is a positive behavior, my hope is it will translate not only to their actions as an adult, but their actions on the playground next week. Our voices can all be instruments for change, so let’s use them.

Keep talking. Keep discussing. Keep informing yourself and your children.

Kristin is a Lee’s Summit suburb transplant, after living in the Brookside and Plaza areas for over eight years. Raising three young boys with her husband, Jake, has helped her to embrace the messy, wild side of life where love is expressed in bear hugs and body slams. Professionally, she can be found teaching classes as an adjunct professor in the areas of Business, Marketing and PR. She is able to provide her students with applicable, real-life knowledge as she draws from several years working in the corporate sector. “Free time” (ha!, what's that again?) is spent on an occasional date night to favorite local restaurants, reading blogs on everything from home design to politics, riding her sweet beach cruiser bike and thinking of ways to convince her husband to do yet another home improvement project.