I grew up in a family where everyone voted. My parents never missed an election, even a small local one. As far as I knew, everyone voted; that’s just what you did on Election Day. So for me it was a big deal when I finally came of age and became eligible to participate. I was excited, and I went down to the Board of Elections to register. Casting my first ballot was a real right of passage for me.
After my daughters got old enough to understand, I started taking them into the voting booth with me. Sometimes I let them pull the levers for the various candidates, or help work the handle that registered my vote and opened the curtains. I wanted them to feel the same excitement I felt about the privilege of participating in our remarkable government.
Eventually I found out that other people had not been raised in a family where everyone voted, and subsequently they were not voting and were not raising their children to vote. I remember how shocked I was to find out that a particular co-worker of mine never voted. She was a college graduate trained as a teacher, though not following that profession when I knew her. Because of everything I knew about her I just assumed she voted. Not so. I told her the story of taking my girls into the voting booth as she had two daughters also. She shrugged.
How easy it is to follow patterns from our past. Our parents did it this way or that way and now we do it this way or that way. Our children will probably follow suite if we don’t stop and establish new patterns. It is not impossible to do so. Where we see ourselves following good patterns, we should fortify them. Where we see ourselves following poor ones, we can stop and break them off and establish a pattern we would be proud to have our children emulate.
If you are not currently registered to vote, may I suggest it as a good starting place?