Vot­ing is an­other step in the voy­age to­ward adult­hood

201 Family - - CONTENTS - – AMELIA DUGGAN

It’s been nearly 100 years since women first earned the right to vote. In 2016, my daugh­ters will cast their votes for their first pres­i­den­tial can­di­date. They have voted in lo­cal and state elec­tions be­fore, but at 19, this will be the first time they will have the priv­i­lege of vot­ing for the Pres­i­dent of the United States.

Wow. That’s a se­ri­ous re­spon­si­bil­ity. The triplets were away at school for much of the pri­mary sea­son – dis­ap­point­ing that New Jer­sey is al­ways at the tail end. We have talked about is­sues and can­di­dates, but my hus­band and I have been cau­tious not to push our own view­points or agen­das on our daugh­ters. My girls have minds of their own and this is the per­fect op­por­tu­nity for them to ex­press their be­liefs.

Civic en­gage­ment is an es­sen­tial part of the Amer­i­can ex­pe­ri­ence and I want my daugh­ters to be ac­tive par­tic­i­pants in the gov­ern­ment that serves them – not pas­sive by­standers.

What­ever choice they make, I will re­spect it. I have learned over the years that my chil­dren make ed­u­cated de­ci­sions. They do not do what’s pop­u­lar or ex­pected; they do what feels right. I am proud that they view cit­i­zen­ship as a re­spon­si­bil­ity and that they make care­ful, de­lib­er­ate choices af­ter ex­am­in­ing in­for­ma­tion from a va­ri­ety of sources. Vot­ing is an­other step in the voy­age to­ward adult­hood. Mak­ing a de­ci­sion, stick­ing by the choice and de­fend­ing it, and pos­sess­ing a will­ing­ness to ac­cept the con­se­quences are part of the learn­ing curve. It is also a very pri­vate ex­pe­ri­ence. My chil­dren may tell me whom they choose, but they will not be re­quired to do so. This is a very per­sonal choice and one that must be re­spected, re­gard­less of whether my hus­band or I are in ac­cord. In the end, we all hope that our chil­dren will use sound judg­ment in mak­ing choices. If we have given them the proper tools, it is rea­son­able to ex­pect that they will do so. We hope for this in all as­pects of their life – not just the vot­ing booth. I will not be able to wit­ness this his­toric mo­ment in their lives, for they will have to cast their votes via ab­sen­tee bal­lots. Which re­minds me…I had bet­ter get on them about mak­ing ar­range­ments. They’re adults, sure, but they are and will al­ways be my lit­tle girls.

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