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Rejecting the Gift: Fostering Apathy and Cynicism in a Generation that Needs More Hope

Your tween daughter comes home from a friend's house drunk or high. You tell yourself, "I really have no control over her. She probably wouldn’t listen to me anyway. I think I'll just wax morose and watch her make bad choices until she goes down in flames."

Your son's teacher calls you in to tell you that he's really making a lot of improvement in algebra. She gives you the name of a free tutor and tells you that if he spends a few hours with her, he stands a good chance of scoring well on his ACTs. You thank her for the info, crumple the paper in your purse, and take him out to a movie instead. If you went the tutoring route, you'd probably have to fill out some sort of paperwork, maybe even do some additional homework. You can't be bothered.

Do these examples seem ridiculous? Of course you want wonderful things for your children. You would never give up on them so easily or care so little about their future. You love them and want to give them the best of everything in life.

Why don’t you vote? The decision to get out and vote affects our children in two really profound ways.

1.  Each year you get the chance to have a voice, a hand in shaping the future of the world our children will grow up in. Picture the world you want for your children and then go out and vote for it. If you're like me, becoming a parent has greatly affected your political views.

Can you be completely informed about every party, candidate, issue and initiative? No. Can you spend as much or as little time as you have learning about them so you can make the best choice possible in your given circumstance? Yes. The important thing is to make a decision and let your voice be heard. As you're deciding, think about that candidate's sphere of influence, rather than her appearance or party affiliation. If you're voting for a commissioner of lands, it may be more important to look at his record on the environment than his stance on abortion.

2. Your children learn from your example. By rejecting the gift of democracy, you teach your children that one person cannot make a difference, that there is no hope for a brighter future, and that you do not respect the sacrifice of those who have given their lives to keep this country free.

Honestly, if I thought about all the ways I could mess up my kids, my head would explode. Voting is a relatively easy way to knock one of those worries off my list.

This November show your children by your actions that you are grateful to live in a free country, that you believe in yourself, and that you have hope for a better world in the years to come.