Little People & Politics
I am a single mom with two little girls (ages 6 1/2 and 8). With the elections coming up, we watched bits and pieces of the presidential debate. This prompted a lot of questions which makes my little political mama's heart race with joy: Finally; they're old enough.
We started talking politics 4 years ago, but they were so young. We talked about how there's a president and a little bit about his role, but there's only so much a 2 and 4 year old can "get". This time though, I think they're starting to get it. With the debate running in the background, we discussed government and the various levels. We talked about voting and how/ why it's important. All of this lead into a discussion about women's suffrage and how women used to be viewed as less important than men. Oh the shock! Here I have spent all of their childhoods talking about how people are equal and we should treat everyone the same (no matter sex, race or the sandwich in their lunchbox). My girls were dumbfounded to find out that the rest of the world doesn't and hasn't always felt the same way.
Albeit a rather hasty and muddled conversation, something registered with them- they have both commented on our talk since that night and even still will randomly ask questions about women & their rights.
We live in a country where - in spite of all of it's flaws - we have the right to vote. Women have a voice and they are booming... if we let them.
A friend recently emailed and said that I had to watch the OPB special "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity" (based on the book by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn). One night, after I tucked my girls into bed, I cozied up under the quilt and got lost in the stories of women and girls around the world. Every story was full of tragedy and loss and yet each one was flanked with a gutsy heroine that was bringing hope to these cities and villages while fighting an uphill battle against the community and traditions.
It hasn't been all that long that American women have had the right to vote or demand that their voice be heard. I'm curious, how are you handling these delicate issues with your girls? Do you talk about how their counterparts in other countries are growing up, how some of our own relatives and predecessors have suffered real, blatant barriers because of gender? And for those of you rearing little men, how do you talk to them about women's rights?