Yesterday, my husband and I took our two children to the polls with us. My daughter is three and my son three months, but I wanted to lay the groundwork for future lessons in civic responsibility. I’m building an album of photos of them, proudly adorned with “I voted” stickers, from every local and national election during their lives.
It is important for them to see me vote. But, I want them to know something else about elections. I will teach them that voting is about reflecting on the past and hoping for the future. Like choosing a college, a job, a spouse, when we make big decisions, much of our awareness is pulled away from the present moment. That is necessary.
But, when we aren’t living in the present, we can do a great deal of harm, too. We might gloat about our candidate’s win or disaster-theorize about our candidate’s loss. If all of our awareness is given to the future, fear and anxiety abound.
I want my children to know that yesterday it was our responsibility to reflect on the past, hope for the future and cast our ballots. Today, though, we need to practice radical presence and radical love. Today, we get back to changing the world with a million tiny decisions.
I’ll show them this by talking to my husband about his day. Playing hide and seek with my daughter. Nursing and snuggling with my baby boy. Putting together some meals for a friend who just had a baby. Smiling at a stranger at the grocery store. Writing a letter to our sponsored child in Sri Lanka.
Today, I’m giving myself fully to the present. I’m teaching my children about the day in, day out decisions that change our world.