Most parents agree that our children are our future. But weirdly, statistics show that a lot of us don’t actually vote.
There could be a lot of reasons for this, from parents having less time to stay up to date on the campaigns and issues to just the general chaotic nature of raising tiny humans.
But whatever the reason, it’s really, really important for us to teach our kids how all of this works. Some research has even shown that kids often get their views on politics and civic engagement from watching their parents. So if we don’t vote, it could be the beginning of a vicious cycle.
Justin Ruben, cofounder of the organization Parents Together, has a good idea for how to fix this strange phenomenon, though: parent-kid voting selfies!
Ruben’s mission is, broadly, to help parents navigate all the challenges of raising kids. Trying to figure out how to stand in a 45-minute voting line with a screaming toddler is definitely a big one.
So he and his organization recently launched a campaign called #FamilyVote, encouraging parents to take their kids with them to the polls and post photos of the outing on social media.
“It felt like we were tapping into one of the most powerful forces on the internet, parents making other people look at their kids.” he joked. “We want to take that and harness it for social change.”
The idea? Fill everyone’s feed with cute family pictures on Election Day, encouraging other stressed out parents to join in on the fun. It’s called social pressure.
The #FamilyVote photos started pouring in during early voting and haven’t stopped since.
Here are a few to get you feeling super pumped about the beautiful families that make up America.
Here are mom and dad Belinda and Alex Reyes along with their kids, Gabriel, Vidal, and Sofia.
Tawaualla Foley said sharing this important election with her kids was one of the proudest moments of her life. “I was filled with so much joy,” she said.
Jon Whiten and his wife took their young son to the polls. “Today, there were lessons we imparted all the way up and down the ballot,” he said.
“It’s important to me and my wife that we instill some core democratic values in our son as he starts to grow.”
“Though all elections are historical, this one feels especially significant to me as a Hispanic female,” said Denise Rivera, who voted with her 4-year-old son.
She was so giddy and excited to vote, she said, that her son asked her on the way to the polls if Hillary Clinton was Michael Jackson.
Kelli Soyer said, “It’s important my daughter knows she has a voice and to use it.”
She also said she wants to really talk about the candidates and what they stand for with her daughter, so that when she turns 18, she’ll be an educated voter.
And the photos just keep coming in from families all over the country.
“If we want parents’ voices to be heard, we need to participate,” Ruben said.
And so far, the project seems to be working. Ruben said a dry run during the primaries in the spring showed that, as simple as it sounds, this selfie campaign was hugely effective at inspiring parents to go vote.
And now, on Election Day, he says the photos are pouring in by the hundreds, with the hashtag spreading far beyond his organization’s usual network. That’s awesome.
So get out there, America, and take your kids with you if possible.
They might be pumped to join you in the booth, or they might whine and complain the whole way. You won’t know ’til you get there! Building a better America for our kids starts now.
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