Children Need to be Taught the Importance of Voting

 

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An epidemic is sweeping our country. With every passing year fewer people go out to the polls and vote. This disease wipes more and more voters away until only a select few control our government.

The path that history writes is held in the hands of presidential and midterm elections, yet only a select number of the eligible U.S. voters are controlling the future of our country. The people control some of the most influential decisions that this country makes, and the results of those decisions determine how every other decision is made for the country.

Despite this awesome power in the hands of the people, sometimes only 50 percent of people eligible to vote turn out, according to FairVote. Big decisions that will affect generations are being decided, and people just don’t show up.

Kids need to be taught from a young age that voting is important because if you instill a belief into a child at a young age, it will remain with them throughout life. Like remembering to brush your teeth, or putting on your shoes before going outside, voting on any election day should become an act we always do. Whether or not you vote shouldn’t be something you have to debate, it should be something people just do. People should argue which candidate to vote for, not whether they should vote at all.

FairVote also reports that only 60.1 percent of Americans voted in the last presidential election. Likewise, in the 2014 midterms only 36.7 percent of eligible voters cast a vote. With numbers like this, the citizens’ opinions on important issues are not being expressed properly. If people were taught at a young age about the major impact that voting has on politics then participation in important elections would likely grow. Kids should know the impact of voting and what power their vote holds.

If parents take their kids to vote with them or simply talk to them about its importance, many new voters could be made instantly. Elementary school teachers could take some time to talk to their class on election days. History teachers already tie in the roots of voting in history class on election days, but if they spent all day, instead of just one assignment and really made it exciting, kids would find voting more inspiring. All it takes is a role model to introduce the positive message of voting to a kid, and kids will not have a second thought about it.

Some people might argue that kids don’t need to know the grown up mechanics of voting, that when they become a teenager they will understand and learn what to do. However, kids are much more likely to respect and take to heart what their parents say than teenagers. In your younger years you learn the basics of things, not the fundamentals. Save your kids teenage years to develop their own opinion, but teach your kid young that whatever you vote, its important. Kids are shown to learn much faster, and retain information much better than teenagers. They learn necessary motor skills, languages, and important life skills. Since voting is so important, kids should learn about it, voting should become second nature.

Eighteen to twenty-nine year olds are the people least likely to vote, with voter turnout of just over 40 percent in the 2016 election, according to the United States Elections Project. This number is way too low for this age group. Everyone’s vote is important, so the people whose lives will be the longest affected by their vote should have the highest turnout. If teenagers were taught as children that they should vote, if they were taught it was an important, exciting experience, then voter turnout would be much higher.

Voting should be important to everyone, no matter what side you’re on. Democrat or Republican, you should always go vote because we are lucky as a people to help control the fate of our own country. Many countries don’t let their people vote, or their elections are very controlled and rigged. The United States has designed a fair system and has upheld this right since the birth of our country. We shouldn’t just throw away all our founding fathers’ hard work every election.

Many people have given up on voting, thinking their vote doesn’t really count, but that’s not the case. Every vote counts for what you’re fighting for. Get out there, vote, and teach your kids the importance of it. The future of the country rests in your hands.                 

One comment

  1. Thank you for your share and insights. Let me, one who has been down the road of understanding share in order to add to the discussion, encouraging our youth to vote. As a teacher for many years, I have learned, first hand, how much is needed to teach our children. They simply have not been given the information from which to draw conclusions. Many have their hearts in the right place, but without a foundation, they simply do not understand the issues, and many don’t have the energy to read, learn about the candidates, and study the issues. As such, they’re subject to rhetoric and public opinions, often of their peers. I remember, once, years ago, a sample election in a school. I later discovered that of the 30 students in my class, all but one voted the same way. A couple who had been thinking (They told me.) to vote their own ideas later changed due to what their peers might think. Even though I explained their votes were in private, they couldn’t vote their hearts nor even wanted to consider the ramifications of such actions. Even in a pretend event.
    One of my favorite movies: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, could be an eye-opener. It shows the involvement of children decades ago. Today’s children simply are not brought up in environments of discussions, deep and meaningful.
    Do children and teens, today, understand the Revolultionary War: It’s causes and effects? Do they understand why the Pilgrims suffered, endured, and went on even though so many died? Why were they willing to take a chance on death on the high seas, more in a strange land, even though they would have survived back home? Have they even discussed these questions, writing papers of their opinions, then debated in class?
    Do children and teens today know our Constitution? Can they read it? The level of language is far above most. Can we teach reading and writing to high levels so higher levels of discussions can be had? This is so important. It’s not enough to have an opinion, for an opinion without the necessary information is an opinion that will tilt without understanding.
    In a free country, the country can only remain free if our youth are brought up knowing our history, as it really was, then understanding the causes and effects that lead to events in current. To do this, I have shared with my students not to believe something simply because they’ve heard something, even if it’s from me. Yes, they must do the work I give them, but regarding papers and readings of opinions, they are free to believe what they believe. But to write a paper, they must also provide support. The better the paper, the more support (both cited and experience based), and the more they will better understand their own ideas. With time, they must also understand opposing points of view. Never fear opposition.
    You’re doing well to encourage participation. Let’s also work towards information, both past and present. Oh, sometimes I would take a position I am not in agreement with just to see how they would respond. It’s important that their ideas come from within.

    Liked by 1 person

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