It's hard not to talk to your kids about politics when you have an election like we just had. Early on, we explained the process in a way we thought our kids would be able to understand at their ages. Once the two candidates were chosen, we explained that one of these two men would be the next President. We also told them that the beauty of America is that everyone gets to vote for the person they want to win. We tried hard not to tell them who we were voting for until they asked and not to bash either candidate.
Right away, our kids picked sides. If they'd picked the same side, it would have been easier for us.
Sister said she would vote for Barack Obama because he looked better.
Brother said he'd vote for John McCain because he liked him more.
Over the past few months, they have often bantered back and forth about their respective candidates and did a little preschool-esque trash talking.
I just have to mention here that the whole political discussion and choosing a candidate for my kids wasn't really that much different than what I've seen amongst my peers.
After the realization that Barack Obama would be our next President last night, Big Daddy and I went to bed with a heavy heart. Not for the reason you may think. We knew that when we woke up, we'd have to break the news to Brother that his guy didn't win. He's our more sensitive and emotional kid so we knew this wouldn't be easy news to share and that it wouldn't be readily accepted.
We went in to wake him this morning and broke the news gently. He cried a little about it and then said, "It's not fair! I wanted John McCain to win!" He then declared that he didn't care what we said, John McCain did win. We were then asked to leave his room because he needed some more time to rest.
When we went in to Sister, we told her that we had a new President and that it was Barack Obama. She was thrilled and her grin lit up the room. We congratulated her. She then wanted to know if we'd told Brother yet. Knowing her the way I do, I explained that she was not to gloat to her Brother about the election. We told her that we'd already told him and that he was upset and that she should show some grace in this situation.
All went well for the morning. This evening while I was making dinner, I heard them arguing about it. Brother then came in crying because Sister scratched him in their heated exchange and told him that she was glad John McCain lost. He was more devastated over the latter.
We again had a talk about how we are a family and we are to show grace and love to each other rather than fighting and gloating. We talked about the good news of being in a country where we have the ability to vote and how we can pray for both President Elect Obama and Senator McCain. I told them that even if your candidate didn't win, you should still be supportive and kind to the one who did and to those who voted for him because this is a very important job and it is certainly not an easy one.
Seriously, y'all? Does this not sound like a discussion we should have been having all along with each other as adults? Grace and love from both sides. Sounds like a good lesson to me.