Lessons on Life—and Politics
Posted November 12, 2012on:
I had no idea Boo was paying attention to the news.
In the evenings, we’d watch various news programs while the girls were playing, doing homework or other projects.
One day, Boo, now officially 5-3/4 (I have to include the 3/4 or I will be in trouble. LOL) shared her political insights.
Boo: Why is Barack Obama always yelling at everyone?
Mommy: What do you mean?
She’d seen clips of some of his campaign appearances when he’d spoken loudly and passionately.
Boo: He seems like he’s always yelling and pointing. I don’t like that.
Mommy: I think he’s just excited about something he believes in.
Boo: I don’t believe in yelling or any of that stuff. I like Mitt Romney.
Mommy: You do? Why?
Boo: Mitt Romney goes to church and he listens to God. This is very important in our lives. And he doesn’t yell and make fights.
Mommy: I had no idea you were paying attention to the news.Boo:I listen to the news, and I listen to people talking. I don’t like all this fighting.
Mommy: Neither do I.
Fast forward a couple of weeks. We were driving in the car when Boo sprung this one on me.
Boo: How can Mary and I be friends if she likes Barack Obama and I like Mitt Romney?
Wow. I was really taken aback by this. I thought a minute and I knew it was time for us to have the talk.
Not that talk!
The talk about why we choose our friends, and about differences, respect, etc.
Mommy: We don’t choose our friends based on who they want to vote for.
Boo: Why not?
Mommy: We choose our friends based on their character, what kind of person they are. Does Mary treat you nice?
Mommy: Is she a good girl?
Mommy: Do you have fun with her?
Mommy: Does she like a lot of the same things you do?
Mommy: They you should absolutely be friends with Mary.
Boo: But what about politics?
She’s 5! Oh yeah, 5-3/4!
Mommy: People have different experiences in life, things that happen to them, that make them believe a certain way. Did you ask Mary why she likes Barack Obama?
Boo: No. But I told her that I like Mitt Romney.
Mommy: Did you tell her why you like Mitt Romney? What did she say?
Boo: I didn’t tell her why. She didn’t say anything. I should tell her?
Mommy: It’s OK to talk about why we think differently or why we are different. We have to respect people’s beliefs and feelings. That means we don’t talk mean to people if they think differently. We can ask questions and try to understand why they think the way they do. You might learn something. If everyone were absolutely the same, things would be kind of boring, right?
Boo: I think so. So should I ask Mary why she likes Obama?
Mommy: If it’s important to you, then ask her. But you shouldn’t argue. Everyone gets to have their own opinion, whether you think it’s right or not.
Boo: You said that before.
Mommy: Because it’s true.
Boo: OK. I’ll let you know what she says.
After school, I met Boo at the school door.
Boo: Mom, we have to talk!
Mommy: What’s up?
Boo: I asked Mary why she likes Obama. She said she doesn’t know. How can she like him if she doesn’t know why?
Mommy: She can like whoever she wants. Maybe she doesn’t know how to explain why.
Boo: I told her why I like Mitt Romney.
Mommy: What did she say?
Boo: She said, “That’s nice. He sounds nice.” Then she said she still liked Obama. So how can we be friends?
Mommy: You can be friends if you have fun together and you think she is nice. Maybe you guys can talk about something that you both like, and not about politics. You are alike in many ways. You both are Greek, have January birthdays…
Boo: We both like princesses!
Boo: So, I can still talk to her if she doesn’t vote like me?
Mommy: Absolutely. Auntie is going to vote differently than you. Does that mean you’ll stop loving her?
Boo: No way!
Mommy: Does it make sense now?
Boo: So it’s OK to love someone who doesn’t think the same as you.
Mommy: You got it!
Boo: I’m 5-3/4 you know. I’m big!
Mommy: Yes. These are important things to remember.
The morning after the election, I had to break the news to Boo that her candidate didn’t win.
Mommy: Honey, I’m sorry but Mitt Romney didn’t win last night.
Boo: I bet many of those people can’t tell me why they voted for Obama!
Mommy: Does it matter? And besides, he is President Obama, we should be respectful.
Boo: I get it. I just don’t know why Mitt Romney didn’t win.
Mommy: More people voted for President Obama, so he won.
Boo: I didn’t get to vote! If I would have voted, Mitt Romney would have won!
Mommy: I’m sorry, Honey. You can’t vote until you’re 18.
Boo: Oh. Not even a 5-3/4 year old girl?
Boo: Oh well. I’m not going to talk politics anymore. I just want to have fun. I’m glad I get to keep my friends.
Mommy: Politics isn’t everything, Honey. Just like people pray differently and go to different churches, they like different politicians.
Boo: Mommy, we talked about this already. I’m going to get ready for school. I have so much to learn!
And don’t we all. Seems this election cycle, many of us have forgotten some of these things.
We let politics get in the way of friendships.
Sometimes it takes a 5-3/4 year old to remind us why we chose our friends in the first place.
To remind us to be respectful of others and their opinions.
We don’t have to agree.
But we must respect people’s feelings and their right to their opinions.
You may think differently, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends or I can’t love you.
Things got very bitter this election cycle, but let’s not forget why we are friends—why we CHOSE to be friends.
Boo and Mary are little, but how many people are wondering the same things?
It’s OK that we think differently.
In fact, I think it’s good.
We can learn so much from each other.