It’s that time of year. Frankfort has been invaded by legislators and laws are in the making. Some of these proposed laws are merely political distraction. Some are trying to protect our state and its people. In both cases, there were lessons I thought my children should learn. I wanted us to be standing on the side of what is right. So we headed downtown to the Capitol.
After participating in two political rallies with varied success, I would like to offer you my primer on successful rally attendance with kids.
ONE: Feed them. Make sure they have had a good meal before you go. These events rarely run on schedule. If you offer them lunch after the rally, you will have your sleeve nearly tugged off as your child whispers loudly, “I’m hungry. Is it almost over? When do we go get pizza?” Several very smart parents I saw at one rally (alas, not me) brought snacks for their kids. If they are busy chewing, you will be able to hear the speakers.
TWO: Make signs. This gives you a chance to discuss the topic of the march or rally with your child. They will arrive with a better understanding of why they are there if they have written a slogan and illustrated it. Besides, marches and rallies are just more fun if you have something to wave (true for adults also). Plus, TV and newspaper camera people love kids with posters. The possibility of actually being on TV or in the paper will heighten a child’s interest in staying put during the speeches. Waving flags also seems to work to help entertain them (just make sure they don’t use them to whack on siblings – a sure sign it may be time to go).
THREE: Dress them appropriately. The information in the paper may say the rally is going to be indoors; however, if a large number of people assemble it will get moved outside. Be prepared. If your child refuses to put on a jacket or gloves, take them with you anyway. Being able to say, “I told you so,” won’t get you through the next speaker, and people do look at you funny if your child is noticeably shaking.
FOUR: GO!!! Perhaps you know your children can only last for twenty minutes. It is still worth the effort. You get outside with your kids. You have an opportunity to talk about things that really matter to you. Your kids get to see you aren’t the only person worried about a particular topic. You can make both history and current events come alive for your kids by comparing the rally/march you are attending to ones in the past and the ones in the news. And best of all, you plant a seed for active citizenship in your child. That is a gift to your child and to your community.
So I hope to see you at the next rally. I’ll be the one with kids, signs, snacks, and mittens.