Young Bloods: Educating Your Kin on Voting Rights
“NEVER DOUBT THAT A SMALL GROUP OF THOUGHTFUL, COMMITTED PEOPLE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. INDEED, IT IS THE ONLY THING THAT EVER HAS.”
— MARGARET MEAD
It bears repeating: The 2020 election may be the most critical election of our lifetimes. This phrase has bounced around news headlines for weeks now — but is feeling even more dire as we edge closer to the election. The reality is, our children will be the next generation of voters quicker than we think — because that seems to be the nature of time where our little ones are concerned.
Our team at re•spin feels that early education of voter knowledge and practices may be a great thing to start having conversations around in the home. As we look towards action, we face how we can begin communicating with our children the importance of voting.
Starting the conversation early may place value on the youth’s voice and remind them that they do have the ability to enact change. It also establishes voting as a value within your household and can encourage consistent practices once your children become of age to participate in the election process.
Learning about voting, particularly in our current climate, maybe frustrating or even scary for some young people. Here are some tips to simplify it all:
- First, consider how you can illustrate the concept of voting to your children. Even preschool-age kids can understand the idea of voting for something that impacts them – like what to make for dinner or what game options are available to them. For older kids, you can introduce more complex laws and propositions. Perhaps you ask them how they would vote on subjects related to climate change or animal rights.
- When illustrating the concept of voting, remain neutral when presenting facts — this encourages our youth to utilize their critical thinking skills, and develop their own belief system.
- Consider sharing your own opinions with your children. It’s a great way of modeling healthy discourse and teaching young people to engage in conversation with different viewpoints.
- Remind your kids of how they can participate in enacting change. Encouraging your children to volunteer, take up earth-friendly practices like recycling and gardening, and even having them start their own change-oriented clubs are proactive ways to promote civic engagement from a young age.
If you are feeling your own sense of unpreparedness in navigating voting education, there are resources to support you! IAMAVOTER is a nonpartisan movement that focuses on voting and civic engagement. Brushing up on your knowledge regarding voter rights and the upcoming election will inevitably lend you confidence in passing this knowledge onto your children as well.
IAMAVOTER is also a great resource to help to navigate the current election amid COVID-19. They have information for each state on mail-in ballots and voter rights in the current pandemic.
Finally, if you haven’t already, be sure to check your voter registration status!