Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Monday, November 1, 2010

Your Vote Counts... in more ways than you might think

When we study history in school, it's hard to ignore the fact that the right to vote was not always an absolute. At one time, people seemed to think that the right to vote was worth dying for. Isn't it strange (and sad) then that since 1974, in non-Presidential election years, fewer than 40% of the voting population exercises the right to vote? We encourage our kids to speak up in class, to speak up when something is wrong, and to be active participants in their communities. Yet when Election day rolls around, most of us seem pretty comfortable resorting to "do as I say, not as I do". We opt not to speak up. It just doesn't seem right to expect more from our children than we do from ourselves. As Seth Godin says,
Voting is free. It's fairly fast. It doesn't make you responsible for the outcome, but it sure has an impact on what we have to live with going forward. The only thing that would make it better is free snacks.
Actually, it seems to me that one year, when we were standing in line, we did get free snacks. In any event, voting is our right and it's our responsibility - not just because voting is the easiest way to make a difference but because if we can't be bothered to vote, what message are we sending to our children? Just as our children learn about the American Dream in school, they need to learn about American Responsibility at home. This is an opportunity that, as parents, I think we don't want to miss. Consider adding Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out to your home library this election year - it's, quite simply, an exquisite book that features contributions from all your favorite children's book authors and illustrators (over a hundred of them). It's inspiring and a great way to learn together as a family.

Speaking of libraries, in addition to voting for senators and governors this year, there are several propositions on the ballot that would have a major impact on public libraries. It's important to know what the issues are. VOTE!

Here are some more election-related books your kids might enjoy:

Marvin Redpost for Class President
by the amazing Louis Sachar

                                                               by Catherine Stier


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