November 7, 2012

Hope for my Daughters

She dressed in red, white and blue, brought appropriate reading materials, and charmed the woman at the front of the line with her rendition of the word indivisible.  We felt like civic-minded parents - taking our daughters along to vote.  We marveled at the thought that last time we voted for president we had no children at all!

And all day I've been thinking of things I want to teach them - hopes I have for them, specifically when it comes to this whole election process.  I'm writing it here, in part so that I can work on practicing now what I plan to preach to them in coming years.

Advice for my (hopefully) civic-minded daughters:

- Realize that you will learn much more by listening to someone who thinks differently than you will by hearing your own opinions endlessly re-iterated.
- Seek to understand more than you seek to be right.
- In fact, leave being right out of the equation completely, my dears.  It's a tempting, but damaging approach to life.
- Have the confidence to express your own ideas, the humility to say "I don't know" and the courage to change your mind.
- Make the world a better place.  Applaud and appreciate the efforts of all those who seek to do the same - even if their approach is vastly different from what you would choose.
- Respect all of the various viewpoints out there.  They may not be important to you, but they are important to someone.  (This goes for your politically apathetic friends as well.  Believe me, you will at times need respite from the deluge of opinions)
- Don't you ever demean or belittle anyone!  Public figure or personal acquaintance, it makes no difference.  People are people and Mom won't stand for bullying in any form.  Be kind my sweet girls; always be kind.
- Be aware of the limitations of each option.  There is no magic bullet, no perfect person, no secret recipe. 
- Foster a belief in the innate goodness of your fellow man.  Feed your optimism for the future - it's the only way we can continue on.
- I would prefer if you didn't automatically vote straight party line every time, but if that's your choice I will take my own advice and respect your decision.
- Listen, listen, listen.  More than you talk.  (It's hard and I'm terrible at it, but I think it makes for quality minds)
- Give people the benefit of the doubt and return love for hurt and criticism.  This may be the only way you have friends left at the end of a campaign.
- When you find something you believe in, tuck it close within your heart and live as true to it as you possibly can.  Just don't let it get in the way of practicing the principles listed above.
- Don't spit into the wind or eat yellow snow.  Do wear your seat belt.  Everything else will work itself out.

I am grateful to my friends who have shown an ability to express their own views articulately and sincerely.  I am grateful for people who are fair-minded and understanding and able to consider a different approach.  I appreciate the quiet voters and the people who love family and friends more than political affiliation.  I am grateful for my own liberties.  And I am grateful for the bright future I hope to help build for my children.

P.S. I'd like to take this opportunity to announce my candidacy for President in 2016.  I'll be heading up the party of Hearts, Unicorns and Warm Fluffy Feelings.


  1. You have my vote!

    Seriously, I love everything you said and wish that more people would think this way. It is so sad that people seem to forget love and charity when different thoughts are shared.

    And I may just share this post because I love it so!

  2. You have my vote too! Love what your party stands for! :) thanks for articulating so honestly what is always important in life, regardless of what beliefs people have. Couldn't agree more :)

  3. This is fabulous advice for everyone. Well said.

  4. I want to plagiarize this post and read/teach it to Harper someday. Couldn't have been better said. You rock.