Why Getting Our Kids Involved in Politics is Important

1.20.12

Photo credit: Andrew Burton/Stringer/Getty Images

Our family got involved in our state legislature years ago. We just felt like we needed to get in there and serve and do whatever we could in our community to make a difference for our children's and our grandchildren's future. We feel like it is a privilege in our country to have the freedoms that we enjoy.

We don't take for granted the fact that we can vote for the people who we want to put in office that represent our values. And we've explained to our kids that this isn't always the case in the rest of the world. I don't think we should take that as a right; it's not. In our country people have given their lives for this freedom that we enjoy, and that's what we want them to understand when it comes to politics and voting.

Our kids have always been interested in politics and some of them were able to see the state legislature process firsthand. When Jim Bob was in the Arkansas House of Representatives, they would go into the committee meetings and watch how they voted on all of the issues that eventually became laws in our state. Then they were able to watch the voting on the different bills that came through. And so it was a learning experience for our children, and to this day our kids are very aware of what's going on around them, especially in the political realm. Their ears and their eyes are tuned all the time into listening to the issues that come up, and they understand what's at stake because of all the time that we spent there in our state capitol trying to work for the things that we appreciate in Arkansas.

In terms of supporting candidates, we pray about who we really feel like we need to get behind.  We love a lot of the candidates -- I think that's a great thing about America: We can have a lot of people to choose from in one race, and this was a hard one to decide. But we felt like we got behind the man who has the family values that we stand for. We really felt like Rick Santorum was the man who we needed to get behind and support, who could out there and do what we really feel like needs to be done for this next election -- for the family values that we feel strongly about.

So we've been on the road in South Carolina helping with the campaign, and Jim Bob and the kids even went to Iowa a couple of weeks ago. I remember years ago -- we didn't even know anything about politics back then -- but we knew that we needed to get involved somehow, and the first thing we did was we to get behind the candidate that was in our area and some of the older kids and Jim Bob and I started making phone calls, putting out signs and knocking on doors and handing out his information about what he stood for. And that was our first introduction to politics back then.

Our kids have learned a lot about the whole political process, and really they realize every vote counts. This last time in Iowa there was just eight votes that made the difference between one person winning and another one being the second runner-up. It's amazing to me that eight votes could make that big of a difference. But if eight people chose not to get out and vote, that's eight people who missed their opportunity to say what they felt. Being able to see all of this in action has been very, very good for our kids.

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