Each voting night, my son accompanies me to the local National Guard armory. He used to squeeze into the booth with me, but now he chooses to read the posters and honorary plaques lining the walls. Now that he is in High School, he chose to join his school’s Junior ROTC program. I wonder what impact voting at the armory has had on this choice – really seeing and knowing that people have given so much to protect our right to vote and his part in exercising this expression of our free speech. In the cold, he stood in line with me and a hundred others to vote for the next president. He listens intently to our extended family’s lively discussions on politics and the state of the world. He volunteers in the community, he listens to others, and he speaks his own opinion in words that are often quoted by adults. In just a few years he will have the right to vote. Voting is such an important part of his education and what it means to be an American and I am grateful for every opportunity to share this small action with him. When we cast our vote, we are choosing who we want to carry our voice.
Please celebrate voting, one expression of our right to free speech by sharing the experience with a child. Let them fill in the ovals. It is OK to color a little outside of the lines.