Driving home from Las Vegas last week, our family had a wonderful learning experience. We were discussing the tragic shooting that had just taken place in Tennessee as well as the terrorist attack at Fort Hood, when I asked my 15 year old son, Rory, “How do you feel about our soldiers not carrying weapons on base?” After he finished telling us that he thought they should carry guns in order to protect themselves I said, “That’s great. Now I would like you to take my phone and find Senator Orrin Hatch in my contact list. Then I want you to call him and tell him what you just told me.” Of course, he was horrified and said that there was no way he could call a senator. However, after some encouragement and practice, he finally called Senator Hatch’s office. He also ended up calling Senator Lee and Senator Reid. It reminded me of the first time that I felt strongly enough about an issue to call our representative’s office and how terrified I was. Many years and dozens of phone calls later, I don’t get the least bit nervous. However, this experience taught me that if I want my children to be comfortable standing up for their beliefs and making their views known, I need to teach and prepare them so that it is not a frightening experience for them. Discussing issues in a family setting and roll playing conversations that they might have with their elected officials can better prepare my children to stand up and be counted!
by Kristine Wagner