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So Your Kid is a Democrat (and You’re a Republican)—or Vice Versa

presidential election 2012

It’s that time again. The presidential election is around the corner and tempers are flying. Parents and grown children listen to the news (different channels, of course) and argue about whether or not our country will be standing in January. Each is convinced, of course, that unless their candidate makes it, we might be swallowed in flames. At least, that’s what it can feel like.

So what do you do when the children that you birthed from your loins, fed, loved, lost sleep over, prayed for, and gave your heart and soul to, disagrees with you on political issues? Do you consider yourself a failure?

This is a tumultuous time in our history, and that is certain. The global economy is shaky, the Middle East is ready to implode, and we can’t agree on how much rein to give our government. Parents claim that our country has never been at such a critical point in history, and many young adults think that the US has always carried trillions of dollars of debt. What’s the big deal?

It is important in these times to keep our wits about us. That means, keeping the big, important things front and center. Family relationships are what matter. Period.

Presidents will come and go, policies will change, and taxes will rise and fall. The Republicans will have the House, and the Democrats the Senate and vice versa in the future. But what must remain constant in these times is our love and commitment to our families first. That means, making sure that, regardless of our political views, we must embrace the similarities and the differences between us and be about the business of loving one another.

Good for the kids who grow up to challenge their parents’ thinking. (Mine sure do.) And good for parents who feel so passionate about the future of the country for their kids and grandkids that they continue to argue their feelings.  We owe it to our kids to let them know what we believe is right and wrong. Since we will always be our children’s parents, regardless of their age, we must continue to teach them what we feel passionate about and why. This is how we both learn and grown.

The Hebrew word for “teacher” is learner. We, the teachers, learn as we age and teach what we learn. Our great hope is that as our offspring age, they too will always want to continue to be teachers and learners.

If your child doesn’t agree with you during this political season, embrace it. Listen to what they have to say. Engage them. But always remember that they are far more important than their political views. And hope that they feel the same about you.

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