Strong Moms Prepare the Next Generation for Civic Duty: It’s elementary… If you don’t vote – don’t complain!

22 Oct

Strong Mother model leaders strive to create more leaders, educated civic and public leaders who will take their responsibilities to serve and educate seriously.

By Dawn Mays

I recently served as the acting Supervisor of Elections for an election. It was an election in which there was a lot of voter education needed, everyone was required to show a registration card, and there were a few “close” races.

It was exciting to see many cast their first ballot of a lifetime and I hope each voter continues to vote in the years to come.  We made the voting easily accessible and even helped a few that needed special assistance with the ballot.

This election was at my children’s school.

Providing Role Models for Voter Responsibility

One of my children’s favorite teachers approached me a few weeks ago and asked if I could help them run a mini election for the first grade – which blossomed into a school wide event.  I contacted the Supervisor of Elections Office for my county and asked if they could help me out with some “I voted” stickers and was given so much more.  We had a voter booth, color books about elections, “future voter” stickers and even an old-fashioned silver ballot box with a lock.

The teachers, principal and students were thrilled!

The classes were each voting on different ballots. Kindergarten was voting on which color fish they would want to be. Fourth was voting on whether students should be allowed soda in school. And, Sixth was voting for  President and Senate. I gave each a slightly different presentation prior to voting but I did not campaign for any issue or candidate and enforced a “campaign free” zone immediately outside the voting room.

Where I focused my presentation was on the importance of voting, the mechanics of being a registered voter, and the instructions for voting.  The kids were like sponges. They took everything in and wanted more.

Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders

What was amazing to me were the questions from these students that day and the feedback from their parents in the days to follow.

One of the older students shared that his older brother got to vote for the first time this year and how “cool” it would be.  Many parents commented to me that their child had asked them “who are you voting for for President,” and when given an answer the follow-up question was “why?”

The older students were interested in becoming voters and the younger were amazed to hear that some grown ups would skip voting. I am sure my answers on “not voting” will make many a parent frustrated on election day if they do not choose to vote.  I had explained that it is very important to cast a ballot and then talked about if one of their classmates complained about the results of their election but did not even participate, how that would make them feel.

The Students All Thought Only Voters Should Complain.  

One of the best comments came from one of the youngest voters:

“So are only grownups who vote allowed to complain about the president?? Because my dad complains a lot – so he MUST have voted.”


4 Responses to “Strong Moms Prepare the Next Generation for Civic Duty: It’s elementary… If you don’t vote – don’t complain!”

  1. Rhonda Battaglia October 23, 2012 at 2:44 am #

    Awesome! Love this and love your point.

  2. lynngolsen October 24, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    We sometimes forget what a privilege it is to vote — how wonderful that our children remind us!! And what a great job you did, Dawn, introducing those youngster to the ballot!! They will remember that forever.

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