The Election Through the Eyes of Children
Though I had a couple opportunities this year to “early vote” on my own, without my three darlings in tow, I made a conscious decision to go to the polls on Election Day, and take the children along. Toward that end, I’d been trying to talk a bit with them about the upcoming election, giving them an overview of the process we as a democracy go through to elect a leader.
I may not be the best teacher, because today as we set out on our excursion to our local school to vote, I was asked some interesting questions. The questions and comments continued as we entered the school to vote, and persisted even after we’d finished voting and were heading home.
Here are some of the things my charges asked, or had to say regarding the election and the voting process:
Jonathan: “I can’t wait to see George Bush! When’s he gonna get to the pool?” (by way of explanation, I think there was confusion over the word “poll”)
Jonathan: (a bit skeptically. he is, after all, a bit fearful around bodies of water) “How deep is George Bush’s pool?”
Abigail: “Not so deep, I don’t think.”
Abigail: “Everyone is voting today for George Bush to be President!” (if only that were true!!)
Abigail: “So do all Presidents have to love God?”
Abigail: “Can a woman be President?”
It turned out that the voting was set up in the school gymnasium. My children are unfamiliar with the concept of a gymnasium, or so I found out.
Abigail: “Is this a basketball place?”
Nicolas: (in a rude, angry voice when his sister blocked his view) “SEE the basketball, SEE the basketball!” (meaning he wanted to be able to see the hoop)
As I began the process of voting with my very cool and modern computer key card, the children were interested in helping.
Jonathan: “Can I please push a button?”
Jonathan: (trying on the headset provided each voter in their booth) “Now is it my turn? When can I vote?”
Nicolas: (still rather loudly) “PLAY the basketball!!”
The kind lady at the exit showered the children with “My vote counted” stickers, except for Jonathan who declared he didn’t want a sticker, he wanted to get to vote! Nicolas was very proud of his sticker though and transferred it to his jammies when it was time to get dressed for bed.
There were many more comments and questions, some of which I did not know how to answer. But I am glad I got to experience this election, for the first time, through the eyes of my children. It is really a treat to see the world they way they see it. We enjoyed our election experience: now we are just awaiting the outcome!