Dear Daughter, This is Why I Won’t Tell You Who I’m Voting for…

 

Dear Daughter,

Yesterday was your 11th birthday. You came out of your room took one look at me in my striped grey sweater, turned on your heels and returned wearing your own sweater that was almost identical. You said, “Mom, now we match!” Even though we were spending the day with your middle school friends, you weren’t embarrassed. You hugged me, and I knew this could be a last.

My mind went to earlier when you had come to me about the current election. You had begged me, “Please just tell me, who is our family for?” The growing pressure from classmates to “pick a team” had been mounting over the past several months and you were so frustrated with me and Daddy for not telling you which candidate we were for. I hope my answer will bring you clarity and although it might not be what you want to hear now, I trust one day you will understand and maybe even have some gratitude for the way your Dad and I have chosen to discuss politics with you.

My sweet girl, since the day you were born I have had so much respect for you. And by just 11 years old, I am certain that what is in your heart and your mind is so, so good. I trust that whatever is in there, will be nothing short of incredible, smart, and beautiful. I want nothing more than to give you the time and space to develop your own ideas about this world and to develop your own political opinions too. But when you have those, I want to be sure those are yours and yours alone. I don’t want them to be mine or Daddy’s or anyone else’s. It can be hard for children to sort through adult’s opinions, especially those of your parent’s. I believe you deserve parents that won’t put you in a place to sort through our opinions, in order to figure out your own. I look forward to the day you disagree with me in a political debate because I know it won’t be in spite of me or because of me. It will be all you and nothing more or less, and I will be so grateful, and I hope you will too.

I know right now it feels like everyone needs a “team” to root for. But this isn’t that trivial, and I won’t let you believe that it is. (So yes, you still have to root for the Warriors, because that’s what our family does). What’s in your mind and your heart, your thoughts, ideas, and opinions, that’s the most important thing you’ve got in this world. That is what makes you who you are. I know who I am, and I don’t need to know that you can be me. My job is to raise you to be you. The idea of not giving you the space to do that, the idea that I might not get to see the real you because of my own projections or a desire to have you on my “team”, that breaks my heart. I won’t do that to you, and to be honest, I’d be the one missing out.

This doesn’t mean there won’t be discussions about politics or government. Daddy and I will keep engaging you and we will answer your questions in a way that is age appropriate. We will always present ideas, on all sides, as neutrally as possible. We will outline campaigns and candidates with as many facts and as little opinion as we possibly can. We will encourage you to give yourself time to sit with all these ideas. Most importantly, we will challenge you to think critically and deeply. Sometimes it will be impossible to keep our opinions entirely from you, and sometimes sharing will make perfect sense or be appropriate. We will cross those bridges as they come, and give you as much time to sit with it and to have your own feelings, as we possibly can.

I know today you want to dress like me, and it makes me emotional to think about how much you want to be like me. Someday, if you choose to become a mom, you will know how overwhelming that feels, to hold your heart in mine. I know how easily I could have you rooting for whoever or whatever I might be. But just because I can, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice. I know it seems like everyone at school is, but just because everyone else does it, does not make it the right choice for us, and I am so sure that it is not. Every family makes different choices for their children and what is right for others, might not be right for our family and that is ok. What is important, is that there is mutual respect for those differences. What is right for us, doesn’t make it the right choice.

As you get older, you will start to have some strong opinions about this world. You will start to see things with a more fully developed brain and you will understand issues in a different way than you do right now. Someday, you will want to take a stand for something, and not because we are, but because somewhere deep inside you, it will feel like the only right thing to do and the idea of not taking a stand will feel utterly unbearable. I will be here for that. I’m going to listen to what is in your heart and I will want to know all about how you got there and what you want to do about it. Even if I don’t agree, I will be there. I am all in on you, no matter what.

There will be some ground rules around politics too. Just like everything, the way you are in this world matters. Our expectations will be no different here. We expect you to always behave in a way that is authentic, honest, loving, and respectful.

  • You will not be allowed to make disparaging comments, generalizations, or references about people or groups of people based on their political party, political beliefs, or who or what they voted for.
  • You will not be allowed to decide someone’s worthiness in this world based on their political opinions, thoughts or ideas. We don’t think less of people because of their politics.
  • We will not choose to be friends with or not be friends with people based on their political beliefs.
  • How you behave on the internet matters, who and what you support, like, heart, etc. matters. Don’t be reckless or careless.
  • We will always give people the benefit of the doubt. We assume that people’s opinions, ideas, and thoughts are because they care deeply about our world and the people in it, even when we disagree.
  • Hate is hate and it’s not welcome in this house. You can hate ideas, but never people or candidates. Try being curious instead.

I love you, more than you’ll ever know. Knowing you has been the greatest gift, and I get excited at the thought of witnessing who you will become. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, being your mom. We don’t have to agree on everything or anything at all, because I will always be on your team.

Published in Politics
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 38 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    MrsCheese and I voted today. We just got fed up with all the drama. We were prepared to lie about being out of town on Election Day but little did we know that being 65 or older was a reason for early voting here in SC.The poll worker said that for the last two weeks they have  averaged 200 people a day.

    • #1
  2. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    As the father of four (the lad and three lovely ladies), all I can say is wow.  You’ve gone above and beyond.

    I usually tell my kids “vote my way or you’re an idiot.”

    With the mid-terms nigh, pretty sure all my li’l ladies know how I’ll vote.

    All three of the girls are currently in college.  All three have kinda/sorta hit that college leftist period.  Pretty sure they’ll all grow out of it.

    [My best Dad one-liner ever:  When the eldest, Tutu (family nickname) came home for the first time from college I was stoked.

    Me:  Tutu, we’re celebrating tonight.  I got some of the best racks of ribs you’re ever going to find to grill tonight.  I spent two days building the rub for the ribs.  It’s going to be awesome!

    Tutu:  Dad, I don’t eat meat anymore.  I’m a vegetarian.

    Me:  So, what’re you, a lesbian?

    Tutu:  Dad!!]

    Pretty darn sure all my li’l ladies know how I’m going to vote.  Haven’t spoken to them about it, though.  Haven’t brought up the midterms at all.  ‘Cause then they might get motivated, register in their disparate college towns, and vote.  Pfffft, don’t need that.

    So, not prodding them to vote.  Know why?  They’re idiots.

    • #2
  3. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Haha! You have admirable restraint.  ME the whole time my daughter was growing up:

    -$&%* Liberals grumble grumble

    -Those pinheads!

    -See that? That is what liberals say every time

    I did sit her down when she was 13 to watch Obama’s inauguration, telling her we were witnessing history. (But I admit that when Michelle came onstage, I said “What is she WEARING?”

    But oh well, she’s 23 now and ridicules her vegan feminist friends.

    • #3
  4. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    But oh well, she’s 23 now and ridicules her vegan feminist friends.

    That’s what we call a “win.”

    • #4
  5. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    Welcome Allison, and nice first post!

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Eleven is the best age to be. Life is all downhill from there.  

    • #6
  7. I Shot The Serif Member
    I Shot The Serif
    @IShotTheSerif

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Eleven is the best age to be. Life is all downhill from there.

    Nah.

    • #7
  8. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I Shot The Serif (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Eleven is the best age to be. Life is all downhill from there.

    Nah.

    Twelve is still pretty good. 

    • #8
  9. AllisonSebastiani Coolidge
    AllisonSebastiani
    @AllisonSebastiani

    tigerlily (View Comment):

    Welcome Allison, and nice first post!

    Thank you! 

    • #9
  10. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Eleven is the best age to be. Life is all downhill from there.

    I couldn’t possibly disagree more. Life is a blast!! Beats the alternative all to shucks.

    I’m thinking about being 70 sometime next year but I’m not going into my second childhood, I’m still in my first one 😉

    • #10
  11. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    AllisonSebastiani:

    •You will not be allowed make disparaging comments, generalizations, or references about people or groups of people based on their political party, political beliefs, or who or what they voted for. 

    Except commies.

    •You will not be allowed to decide someone’s worthiness in this world based on their political opinions, thoughts or ideas. We don’t think less of people because of their politics. 

    Except commies.

    •We will not choose to be friends with or not be friends with people based on their political beliefs.

    Except commies.

     

    • #11
  12. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    But oh well, she’s 23 now and ridicules her vegan feminist friends.

    I hope she orders a juicy hamburger when they go out to eat . . .

    • #12
  13. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    AllisonSebastiani:

    •You will not be allowed make disparaging comments, generalizations, or references about people or groups of people based on their political party, political beliefs, or who or what they voted for.

    Except commies.

    •You will not be allowed to decide someone’s worthiness in this world based on their political opinions, thoughts or ideas. We don’t think less of people because of their politics.

    Except commies.

    •We will not choose to be friends with or not be friends with people based on their political beliefs.

    Except commies.

    See, that’s the thing. As they get into high school and never mind college, they’re exposed to more and more moonbat crap, some of it inculcated by their teachers.

    • #13
  14. AllisonSebastiani Coolidge
    AllisonSebastiani
    @AllisonSebastiani

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    AllisonSebastiani:

    •You will not be allowed make disparaging comments, generalizations, or references about people or groups of people based on their political party, political beliefs, or who or what they voted for.

    Except commies.

    •You will not be allowed to decide someone’s worthiness in this world based on their political opinions, thoughts or ideas. We don’t think less of people because of their politics.

    Except commies.

    •We will not choose to be friends with or not be friends with people based on their political beliefs.

    Except commies.

    See, that’s the thing. As they get into high school and never mind college, they’re exposed to more and more moonbat crap, some of it inculcated by their teachers.

    Absolutely! And we are expecting this and prepared to have what we call, corrective conversations. We live in an extremely liberal area of the world and we have to have those conversations more than we’d like. Our approach is a product of/response to both my husband and I studying politics and living in a community that constantly politicizes their children. I know our approach is unique but that was one of the reasons I wanted to share. 

    • #14
  15. Dave Overson Inactive
    Dave Overson
    @DaveOverson

    I have two boys (23 and 18) and a 10-year-old daughter. Both my boys primarily agree with my more conservative view regarding politics, but my daughter is still very impressionable. To compound matters, we live in a more liberal area, and to make matters worse, a sanctuary city. So it is disconcerting from time to time when she comes home from school and says things like, “Trump is a jerk.” I always ask her, where did you hear that? I want to know if the teachers are putting that in her head, or if it’s just schoolyard talk. To the best of my knowledge, it’s schoolyard talk.

    Nevertheless, you showed a heck of a lot more patience than I have. Thank goodness her mother corrects her in a more calm and reasoned manner than I do.

    • #15
  16. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    AllisonSebastiani (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    AllisonSebastiani:

    •You will not be allowed make disparaging comments, generalizations, or references about people or groups of people based on their political party, political beliefs, or who or what they voted for.

    Except commies.

    •You will not be allowed to decide someone’s worthiness in this world based on their political opinions, thoughts or ideas. We don’t think less of people because of their politics.

    Except commies.

    •We will not choose to be friends with or not be friends with people based on their political beliefs.

    Except commies.

    See, that’s the thing. As they get into high school and never mind college, they’re exposed to more and more moonbat crap, some of it inculcated by their teachers.

    Absolutely! And we are expecting this and prepared to have what we call, corrective conversations. We live in an extremely liberal area of the world and we have to have those conversations more than we’d like. Our approach is a product of/response to both my husband and I studying politics and living in a community that constantly politicizes their children. I know our approach is unique but that was one of the reasons I wanted to share.

    I didn’t have the option of any kind of hands-off policy because the PC crap started in kindergarten. I wrote about it in my Snowflakes post. Kindergarten already had “Self-Esteem Hour.”  In third grade, she came home and told me that the most important person in American history was Jesse Owens. I said, Well doesn’t that sort of cast an odd light on Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Jonas Salk? She saw what I meant. It’s very hard to walk that fine line between setting them straight and undermining the teacher.  And don’t get me started on the high school history teacher with the Malcolm X and “fist-in-the-air” posters on the wall.

    • #16
  17. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    AllisonSebastiani (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    AllisonSebastiani:

    •You will not be allowed make disparaging comments, generalizations, or references about people or groups of people based on their political party, political beliefs, or who or what they voted for.

    Except commies.

    •You will not be allowed to decide someone’s worthiness in this world based on their political opinions, thoughts or ideas. We don’t think less of people because of their politics.

    Except commies.

    •We will not choose to be friends with or not be friends with people based on their political beliefs.

    Except commies.

    See, that’s the thing. As they get into high school and never mind college, they’re exposed to more and more moonbat crap, some of it inculcated by their teachers.

    Absolutely! And we are expecting this and prepared to have what we call, corrective conversations. We live in an extremely liberal area of the world and we have to have those conversations more than we’d like. Our approach is a product of/response to both my husband and I studying politics and living in a community that constantly politicizes their children. I know our approach is unique but that was one of the reasons I wanted to share.

    Except I strongly disagree with your point that we “don’t think less of people because of their politics”.

    There are all kinds of people who I think less of because of their idiotic politics.

    • #17
  18. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    OkieSailor (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Eleven is the best age to be. Life is all downhill from there.

    I couldn’t possibly disagree more. Life is a blast!! Beats the alternative all to shucks.

    I’m thinking about being 70 sometime next year but I’m not going into my second childhood, I’m still in my first one 😉

    I just reached 70 and life is still a blast. Eleven is best, though.  

    • #18
  19. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    It’s very hard to walk that fine line between setting them straight and undermining the teacher.

    You’re not undermining the teacher in the case you mentioned.  You’re pointing out the teacher either has his priorites skewed, or he’s forced to teach from a curriculum that promotes such sad ideas . . .

    • #19
  20. AllisonSebastiani Coolidge
    AllisonSebastiani
    @AllisonSebastiani

    Stad (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    It’s very hard to walk that fine line between setting them straight and undermining the teacher.

    You’re not undermining the teacher in the case you mentioned. You’re pointing out the teacher either has his priorites skewed, or he’s forced to teach from a curriculum that promotes such sad ideas . . .

    Right. We always assume everyone is doing the best they can with what info they have–but the truth is the truth. We try to stick to age appropriate material and focus on the facts. Adults get things wrong and are human. Another mechanism that works is to ask questions. For example, my 7th grade daughter last year wanted to wear all black one day because some girls were organizing wearing all black for what she said “equal rights for women” (I mean!). So I asked what rights exactly would she like to have as a woman that she didn’t? She didn’t know. I asked what rights her friends wanted, specifically. She couldn’t answer. So here it was an opportunity to challenge her to think critically and deeply about what she was doing. I asked in earnest and engaged her genuinely. I think teaching them to question information, research the facts, and think for themselves is such a great skill in life. It doesn’t necessarily have to undermine if done with respect and authenticity. And she chose on her own, NOT to wear black :).

    • #20
  21. AllisonSebastiani Coolidge
    AllisonSebastiani
    @AllisonSebastiani
    • #21
  22. JudithannCampbell Inactive
    JudithannCampbell
    @JudithannCampbell

    AllisonSebastiani (View Comment):
    So here it was an opportunity to challenge her to think critically and deeply about what she was doing. I asked in earnest and engaged her genuinely. I think teaching them to question information, research the facts, and think for themselves is such a great skill in life. It doesn’t necessarily have to undermine if done with respect and authenticity.

    This. I grew up in a Republican family in Massachusetts; we were sent to Catholic school, where all of the teachers were well meaning conservative democrats who regularly shared their political opinions and instructed us on whom we should tell our parents to vote for. Often, at the dinner table, I would present my father with an argument that I had heard from a teacher for various policies that I knew he disagreed with. He never got even mildly upset about this. Whenever I said “Sister (Or Miss or Mrs) so and so said this today”, he would present me with a series a questions, and he would say, “When you go to school tomorrow, ask Sister (Miss, Mrs) about this, and that, and this other thing as it relates to this issue that she has brought up.” And I always followed through. Every.Single. Time. this happened (and it happened a lot), the teacher was always totally stumped by my father’s planted questions. Their jaws would just kind of drop, and they wouldn’t know what to say. And in this way, my father would demonstrate not just to me, but to the entire class that our teachers didn’t know what they were talking about. And it was done with total respect; my parents would have been thrashed me if I had ever been disrespectful of a teacher, and they never said one bad word about any teacher, but they did encourage questions. :)

    • #22
  23. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Allison,

    Theoretically, everything you are doing seems good. Certainly, you are trying a very rational approach that, if it can work, would produce great things for your daughter. However, I would remind you that unilateral disarmament doesn’t work in international affairs and I don’t think it works in the raising of children either. Although you may see your child as a blank slate that you want to write only the best ideas onto and leave the most latitude for her to fill in the rest, the world may have other ideas. She should be prepared to defend herself against the world and you should be prepared to defend her if necessary.

    I wish only good things for you and your family. I can’t say that I expect all to be smooth for you given the dangerous bias the world has already demonstrated. Gd never guaranteed that it would be easy. Life is a test. You sound like you intend to get an A. I hope so.

    Maybe we can all work hard to change things before she gets much older.  There’s incentive for us all.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    • #23
  24. Old Buckeye Inactive
    Old Buckeye
    @OldBuckeye

    Such a great way to teach your daughter to think for herself, Allison! My parents were good this way too. My brother is the polar opposite of me, so I believe that proves we were allowed to think for ourselves. 

    I’ve got a friend who will say she agrees with me on a lot of topics, but then will admit to voting a straight Dem ticket and says it’s “because her parents did.” 

    • #24
  25. AllisonSebastiani Coolidge
    AllisonSebastiani
    @AllisonSebastiani

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Allison,

    Theoretically, everything you are doing seems good. Certainly, you are trying a very rational approach that, if it can work, would produce great things for your daughter. However, I would remind you that unilateral disarmament doesn’t work in international affairs and I don’t think it works in the raising of children either. Although you may see your child as a blank slate that you want to write only the best ideas onto and leave the most latitude for her to fill in the rest, the world may have other ideas. She should be prepared to defend herself against the world and you should be prepared to defend her if necessary.

    I wish only good things for you and your family. I can’t say that I expect all to be smooth for you given the dangerous bias the world has already demonstrated. Gd never guaranteed that it would be easy. Life is a test. You sound like you intend to get an A. I hope so.

    Maybe we can all work hard to change things before she gets much older. There’s incentive for us all.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    Thank you. I hear your concerns and I have them too! I appreciate you sharing and thanks for reading :). 

    • #25
  26. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Stad (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    It’s very hard to walk that fine line between setting them straight and undermining the teacher.

    You’re not undermining the teacher in the case you mentioned. You’re pointing out the teacher either has his priorites skewed, or he’s forced to teach from a curriculum that promotes such sad ideas . . .

    I ended up calling the school about that idiot history teacher. He was trying to insert a left-wing political agenda into the class material. It is just infuriating and wrong.

    • #26
  27. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Wow – this is a beautiful essay.

     

    Of course, I am no authority on your daughter: she is yours! Do as you see fit! But for my money… I disagree with much of it!

    For starters… why is being a Warriors fan an acceptable form of tribalism, but political party is not? After all, spectator sports is the true opiate of the masses. But ideas are one of the most important things in our world.

    Why should we not think less of people who are ignorant, stupid, or evil? Depending on the political statements being made, a person can easily be one or all of these.

    Why not raise your children with your beliefs as a ground state? We expect our kids to have table manners, dress reasonably, etc.. why not share what matters in terms of freedom and human rights?

    The part I like is all the good stuff about not calling people names, or being disrespectful to others.

    Sorry for being a wet rag.

     

    • #27
  28. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Welcome, Allison.

    • #28
  29. AllisonSebastiani Coolidge
    AllisonSebastiani
    @AllisonSebastiani

    iWe (View Comment):

    why is being a Warriors fan an acceptable form of tribalism, but political party is not? After all, spectator sports is the true opiate of the masses. But ideas are one of the most important things in our world.

    Why should we not think less of people who are ignorant, stupid, or evil? Depending on the political statements being made, a person can easily be one or all of these.

    Thank you for your comment. Your response was actually the one I was expecting most, I am surprised there aren’t more! Many of your questions are SO great and ones I have struggled with myself. I think a good test of how confident you are in something is how you react when someone disagrees or challenges it and I am very confident in my choices, therefore welcome the disagreements. The Warriors fan was mostly a joke. I don’t put cheering for a professional sports team on the same level as our civic duty to participate in our democracy. If our children chose to root for another team, in all seriousness we would let them. We are die hard Warriors fans but even then I wouldn’t really stop them. I put my kids in Warriors onesies, but wouldn’t dress them in politically charged clothing. I just don’t equate the two. 

    Being ignorant or evil are things I teach my children about but are not synonymous with the basic philosophies of either liberalism nor conservatism, which is what I was speaking to in this piece. And I think you can find people who are both on either side. I believe human rights is a bipartisan issue. Freedom I can see a point on this one as it can be infringed upon easily. I think this, and many others, fall under the part, “..we will challenge you to think critically and deeply. Sometimes it will be impossible to keep our opinions entirely from you, and sometimes sharing will make perfect sense or be appropriate. We will cross those bridges as they come…”

    My children are young and I am giving myself the opportunity to cross bridges as they come. Up until now (oldest in 8th grade) I am confident that this has been the right choice for our family. I know it’s not a popular one which is why I expected/welcome disagreements, but also why I thought it was worth sharing. Thanks again. I think you raised so many important disagreements and I am glad you shared! 

    • #29
  30. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    However, I would remind you that unilateral disarmament doesn’t work in international affairs and I don’t think it works in the raising of children either.

    @jamesgawron: Great point.  It tricked the memory in the “everything I need to know about parenting I learned in the Army.”

    Example:  Task, Conditions, Standards (to include a time hack)

    Task: Successfully conduct a road march.

    Conditions:  Given current weather and light conditions, one 55-pound rucksack (not including chow or water), 2 times 1-quart canteens full of water, 2 times 2-quart canteens, your load bearing equipment to include a basic load of ammunition, you will negotiate the 12 mile route.

    Standard: you must complete this task in less than 3 hours.

    Then (especially with kids, mostly with troops) you have them brief you back on the T, C, S so that there is no doubt in anyone’s mind what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by.

    But, the best parenting line I ever got from my time in the Army:

    We do not negotiate with terrorists.

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.