Thursday, October 16, 2008

Teaching Our Children To Be Civic Minded Citizens

It is almost time for the 2008 Presidential Election. I don't think I have ever missed voting in an election since I turned 18. They had just changed the law, to allow an 18 year old to vote, (for you youngsters, it used to be 21). I was so proud the first time I stepped into a polling place, I felt like I was grown and finally 100% American. You might say, "but you were born in America." Yes I was, but there was just something about voting that first time that confirmed it in my heart and mind, my chest was bursting with pride.

I don't know if that is the feeling everyone gets when they vote, but that feeling has never left me. Every time I vote it reaffirms the fact I, Marilyn Oliver am an American.
My oldest adopted child just turned 18 in October. I started telling her the importance of voting last year, she has only been with us going on 3 years, or she would have heard my spiel all her life.
Anyway I didn't wait for her to register to vote, I registered her online myself, cause she is quite a procrastinator. She was thrilled though when she got her Voter registration card in the mail about a month ago.
I don't stop there, when I went to vote in the primaries, I lugged all four of my girl's with me, took them all into the voting booth, so they could see what the process was. The people at our voting precinct didn't know quite what to think when I walked in and told them I would be taking the girl's in with me, but they were troopers and when we got done, they were each given an I voted today sticker, they all wore them out with pride in their eyes.

If you haven't figured it out by now, I am very patriotic. I still get a tear in my eye when the National Anthem is played, and we say the Pledge Of Allegiance to our flag. Nothing makes me angrier than to hear someone put down this great country of ours. I am one of those people who feel like if you don't love our country, then please go find somewhere you can be happy. We have so much freedom, and opportunities in this country, I don't think you will find that anywhere else in the world, we are blessed beyond what we deserve sometimes. We all take what we have for granted, and it seems the only time we think about it is when we see pictures of starving children in other countries, or when a freedom that affects us is going to be taken away. Friends that is why you should vote. If the things you believe in are there for you now, and someone who doesn't share those same beliefs is voted into office, then chances are what you hold near and dear may be gone, if that person has enough influence.

OK off my soap box and back to the kids. As I said I start brainwashing my kids to be patriots from the time they are old enough to listen. I don't take toddlers with me to vote, they can be distracting, but I do let them know Mommy is going to vote, and try to explain what that is. I usually start taking them with me to the polls at 4 or 5, and while they don't understand all that is going on they do know we are doing something very important. When I was in school we were taught everyday how important being an American was, and how important our civic duties to this country are. Kids today don't get that in school, it might offend someone else belief system. (Refer back to how I feel about if you don't love it leave it.)

What are these civic duties that we should be teaching our children? Well of course voting, jury duty, serving our country with military duty when called upon. Those are just some of the things considered civic duty, but I would also throw in some others here, how about the battered woman or child? Report the abuser. Did you see someone steal from the store you are shopping in? Report to the management. Civic duty means being responsible, not just for yourself, but for your fellow man.

Please teach your children to be good responsible citizens, they are our future, if we don't guide and lead them in the right direction, who will? I received a good article in my email the other day that also kind of goes along with my blog today. It was from Good Housekeeping, and I am including a link here for you to read it if you chose.

I was listening to the news today and found out one of the candidates will be in our town this Saturday. This is the first time that a Presidential candidate has been right here in my town that I can remember, if any were before, I was too young, or working and didn't know. I am not going to say which candidate, because my party preferences should not affect how someone else views this blog. To me it doesn't matter what party you are as long as you vote. Anyway, as soon as I heard about the rally I called to find out if there were any tickets left, they said no, but they were expecting some more in if I could stop by later. Well by the time I could get there they were all gone again, I was so disappointed, I told the lady how much I wanted to be able to take my children, and how important I felt it was for them to learn early. She said well, maybe another location had some, and she called for me, they did have some left, but only a few, if I could get there they were mine, but they could not hold them. I headed out crossing my fingers they would still have seven when I arrived. I stopped to get gas a couple of miles up the road, and my cell phone rang, it was the lady I had just talked to, I had given her my number just in case the other location was out, and they by chance got some more in. She said we have 750 tickets on the way here, if you can come back here in about an hour, I will put seven aside for you. I was elated. I headed back and stopped to pick up a few things from the store to defray my wait. When I go back to the head quarters the tickets still had not gotten there, the lady was gone I had spoken to, but another lady remembered me, and motioned me to come back and have a seat she said they will be here in about 15 minutes. There were a few other people waiting, and the crowd was slowly building. When the man walked in with the tickets, I was told I could only have four, well I knew it was one of those fight or flight moment's. I said to them, look I am not trying to be ugly, but I was called back here by the other lady and was promised there would be seven tickets waiting for me, as I have five children as well as myself and my husband. The other lady said, "she promised you seven?" I said yes when she called, she said "OK give her seven, but after that only four per person." See perseverance pays, not only did I get seven tickets, the T-shirts that they didn't think would come in until the next morning arrived at the same time, so now my husband and I have white ones to wear, and my daughter who thinks pink is the only color in the world has one in pink, oh was she so happy! "Mom, can my boy friend come?" I explained I could only get the seven tickets but if he wanted he could check to see if they had any more tickets. Well as luck would have it my 14 year old has a best friend who he has not seen in months, due to visitation with his father. He called and begged for my son to be able to come for the weekend, that freed up a ticket for her boyfriend, so that will make it even more special for her. He is 18 also, I hope he registered to vote, if not he will get Momma Marilyn's civic lesson on Saturday.

Well everyone Talk To My Heart, how do you feel about voting, and civic duties in general? Give a comment and let me know.

No comments: