Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Special Fieldtrip

On Monday I asked the kids if they were interested in attending a fieldtrip on Tuesday morning. We would probably have to miss PE that day, so I wanted them to discuss it and decide if they were interested. They came to a consensus and we decided we would go ahead and go on the fieldtrip. I invited some of our homeschool friends to go with us on the fieldtrip and after a short family discussion, they too were excited to go. We decided to meet up the next morning to drive to our destination.

So where were we going, you ask? We went to hear Michelle Obama speak.

It was important to me that the kids attended the event because they were interested, not because we forced them. In 2004, they were too young to decide whether or not they would go and hear John Kerry speak in Tacoma. They went because we took them along with us. In February it was Jake who wanted to go and see Obama speak in Virginia Beach. We stood outside for hours in the cold that night, but Jake was steadfast. He wanted to hear Barack Obama speak, so he didn’t complain about the cold and stood next to me, eagerly awaiting stepping into the Convention Center and hearing Mr. Obama’s speech. He would have loved to shake Mr. Obama’s hand that night, but it wasn’t meant to be. We were too far from the stage, but we where there nonetheless.

Tuesday was much the same. Jolie and Jake stood nicely in line with our friends and me, wrapping our way through the line and into the Civic Center, eagerly awaiting hearing from the woman who could possibly be the next First Lady. Jensen wasn’t a big fan of standing in line, even though all he had to do was sit in the sling while I carried him. He was fine once we got moving and sat nicely in his seat throughout much of the event, which was nice of him.

We discussed the day’s experience on our way home that day. The kids said they had a good time. Jake really wanted to shake Mrs. Obama’s hand, but that would have been hard from the nosebleed section. I’m not exactly sure what they took from her speech. The speech wasn’t what was important to me. I was most concerned with exposing the kids to the event. They saw a group of people gather together because they believe in a common cause. I wanted them to know that it is important and acceptable to stand up for what you believe in.

The kids also saw protestors standing outside the Civic Center. Their presence gave us another topic to discuss while we stood in line. Some of the comments on their signs were a bit above the comprehension of a 9 and almost 6 year old, but the concept of protesting was there, and gave us a great topic to discuss.

Whether or not we vote for the same person on Election Day (or through early voting or by absentee ballot), I feel exposing kids to the election process is important. Getting them involved early and allowing them to explore their thoughts and beliefs and the associating political views that go along with them, I feel, will benefit them in the long run. So take your child with you on voting day. Let them see you being involved in the political system. Let your voice be heard.

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