Dear Dave

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Nature vs Nurture vs Irony

Dear Dave,

As I've said before, sometimes we get the kids we deserve...

Last week, I spent plenty of time explaining to my children about the election and talking them through my decision-making process as I worked out who to vote for. I wanted to encourage them to discuss the important issues involved and to think things through for themselves.

I began simply, explaining about the reds and blues and yellows. Then I realised that the kids have got quite a lot older since the last election and I could use longer words. By Thursday morning, we were valiantly able to analyse the possible roles of the Liberal Democrats within a hung parliament.

I took the children with me to the polling booth, showed them what I was doing and made them feel part of it. I believed I was promoting independent thought - the kind of independent thought that makes my own parents chuckle nervously. I was pleased with myself.

Then, later, as we walked down the street, Marie pointed to a succession of signs. "Why do those say, 'Vote Green'?"

"They're to persuade people who go past to vote for the green party," I said. Then I remembered that I was supposed to be using the parties' proper names rather than referring to them by colour and opened my mouth to correct myself. "They're... They're... Er... They're actually called the Green Party."

"Did we vote for them?" asked Fraser.

"Well we didn't vote. I voted... but I didn't vote for them. You can when you're older, if you like."

Marie laughed. "I'll vote for who you vote for."

The boys nodded agreement.

This wasn't the response I was expecting. It normally takes lengthy negotiation to get my children to agree to put their shoes on. Consensus is unheard of. Suddenly they were willing to disenfranchise themselves without a second thought. "You don't have to," I said with a nervous chuckle. "I don't vote the same way as Granny and Grandad, for instance."

"Yes," said Marie patiently, "but I'll vote the way you do."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "Honestly, the greens are actually quite good. You might want to vote for them."

"I won't vote for them if you don't."

My head hurt. "But they want to look after the planet. It's just that they're not going to win round here. Maybe when you're older, the voting system will be different and it'll be worth you voting for them. I might vote for them myself."

"Then I will, too," said Marie, smiling and skipping off. "They'll get two votes."


Oh, how my folks are going to laugh when they hear about this...

Yours in a woman's world,



JenK said...

Don't worry, by the time they're ready to vote, they will pick someone completely opposite from you just because they can.

You're bound to be better off than my kids. The youngest girl-child thinks that Jon Stewart is actually named Barrack Obama. Try explaining that one on election day.

DadsDinner said...

Sometimes the quickest way to find out what a politician stands for is to watch the satire.

My problem is now that I feel faintly queasy every time I see David Cameron...

KatieS said...

Jason was off work on election day, and tried to interest Abigail (aged 4) by saying she could help him choose who to vote for - did she think he should choose the "red team", or the "yellow team" or the "blue team" or the "purple team" (UKIP) which is the choice in our constituency. Abigail immediately said he should vote for the purple team - Jason backtracks wildly and tries to steer Abigail's choice towards the team he might actually vote for!

DadsDinner said...

And he didn't see that coming? Ho well...

When Sproglette was younger she invented the Pink Party and wanted me to vote for them. They didn't have many policies, though. They just wanted to make the whole world look like the girls' aisle of Toys'R'Us.