First, a disclaimer.
This is not a political blog. I am not a political person. Like, at all. As in, understatement of the century.
In fact, it has been strongly suggested that I am a neglectful American, too selfish and/or lazy to care about important political issues. Ouch.
How can you not watch the news?
What do you mean you don’t know the name of the Vice President?
I know, it’s bad.
Maybe it’s not. I’m unsure.
I mean, I’m not a Republican. Gasps heard round my Bible belt area.
Don’t worry, I’m not a Democrat either. Sighs of relief come over the crowd.
I don’t associate myself with a political party.
But, don’t unfriend me on facebook just yet. I think we can still be friends.
I support our troops. I thank God for them.
I am not in favor of abortion.
I am not in favor of same sex marriage.
I am in favor of the extremely wealthy giving money to help the extremely poor. But, I am also in favor of the not so wealthy giving money to help the extremely poor.
I am favor of public education.
I am in favor of freedom of speech and religion.
But, hear me, friend…I am also in favor of the people who don’t agree with me on any of those issues.
More importantly than any of that, I believe the Bible to be true. It is my authority on subjects political and not.
I believe God meant it when He said to care for the needy, neglected, and forgotten. The homeless, the widowed, the aliens, the orphaned…those precious people are dear to Jesus. Therefore, they matter to me.
I am in favor of different churches worshiping in different ways.
But, I am not in favor of churches spending millions of dollars on church building expansions and coffee bars, when there are people starving on the streets within ten miles of them.
I am favor of churches banding together for the greater good of others, despite what the ‘label’ on their church sign says.
I am not in favor of complacent Christianity, which so many of us suffer from severely.
Should I vote?
Did I vote?
Fairly certain I just lost a few friends.
I didn’t ‘not-vote’ because I’m selfish. Or lazy. Or complacent. Or ignorant. I may be some of those things, but that isn’t why I not-voted.
Honestly, I didn’t want either man to be president. I believe voting is important, and my vote, this time, was for neither one.
But, once again, this is not a political blog. I am not a political person.
In spite of my not-vote, I still feel pretty good about my last few days though.
My partner in crime and I went to an amazing church and fed some homeless people yesterday and provided blankets for ten of them to be warmer at night. I feel pretty good about that.
I just had two very deep conversations with my sons about their character and how their choices impact all people around them. That, I’m proud of.
I honored my husband with a party, thrown in his honor, with his personality in mind, not for me and my desires. That blessed him and me.
I supported a precious friend through a time of anxiety, using the many, many, many times I’d totally been there, and the Truth from God’s Word that got me through. Blessed by that, for sure.
I’m not saying you can’t do all that and also watch Fox News. But, I just don’t.
We don’t really watch much TV at all, actually. But, for sure not the news.
I don’t read the paper. I do clip the coupons.
Can I love Jesus, America, and Americans, but still not care much for politics? Is that possible?
Can I love our country, our freedom, and our Lord and still choose, this time, not to vote in November?
I think the answer is yes. But, I could be wrong.
Anyway, like I said, this is not a political blog. I am not a political person.
What I really want to do is to tell you about Mitt Womee and Bockabama.
Who are these people?
I have no idea.
But, neither did Matthew.
Let me explain.
You see, my kiddos were given the opportunity to vote at school last week.
I didn’t know they would be given this opportunity.
I also didn’t know how/when/why they were asked to do so.
And, I certainly didn’t know what they were told about each candidate.
I didn’t know anything.
I only knew that when I welcomed the four crazy, energetic boys jumping into the car at carpool, I noticed that one of those wild boys that I birthed, had a sticker on his shirt exclaiming in big, bold, patriotic colors, “I Voted!”
I asked Benjamin, “Son, where did you get that sticker?”
Throwing his backpack at me, he answered matter of factly, “At school.”
Gee, son, thanks.
“No, buddy, I guess what I meant was, why did you get that sticker?”
“Cause I got to vote for president today at school.”
I was intrigued.
Mainly because my precious six-year-old just recently discovered he had nipples (LINK), so I was dying to find out what his new found political position would be.
My first-born child, Mr. Accurate, interrupted, “We only got to pretend to vote, Mom. It wasn’t for real.”
Thank you sweet Jacob. For a minute, I thought they’d lowered the voting age to six.
(Love that boy. He and his need for accuracy remind me of his dear ol’ Dad, who I happen to love.)
“So, Benjamin, who did you vote for?”
This should be good.
“Mitt Romney, of course.” He replied, as if that was the most ridiculous question I could have ever asked him.
Of course?!? Ok, this is getting pretty interesting.
“Why did you vote for him, bud?”
“Mama, I looked at his picture, and he just looked like he was gonna win.”
(Obviously my kid isn’t a prophet.)
Then, the car full of kiddos began their own little political talk. It was pretty comical. Three kids were mine. The other three kids were not. One kid voted one way because the ‘other guy’ already got a turn at being president. Benjamin voted his way just because he liked the guy’s picture. I guess there is validity to keeping elementary students from voting for real.
Benjamin went around the car, asking each elementary student who they voted for.
Three for Romney, one for Obama.
I know the parents of these kiddos pretty well, and I feel certain that most of them do not have specific political debates at the dinner table. Not at this young of an age, at least.
The two preschoolers stared in awe, as if they were watching a big kid ride a bike with no training wheels for the very first time. Mouths open, they just took it all in.
Then, it happened.
After the big kids chimed in their cheers for their candidate of choice, Benjamin turned to Matthew, my darling neighbor and honorary nephew –
“So, Matthew, who would you have voted for?”
Mind you, Matthew is only four years old. He neither knows what voting means, nor what a president is. Unless you are voting for your favorite Rescue Hero. Then, it’s Billy Blazes, hands down.
Matthew had just witnessed his brother and two honorary cousins chime in gleefully, as if voting for their favorite flavor of snow cone, “Mitt Romney! Mitt Romney!”
So, he happily mimicked, “Mitt Womee”
Benjamin sighed with a great amount of relief and approval to the younger kid, “Oh, good!”
“What about you Abigail? (his three year old sister) If preschoolers were old enough to vote hilarious! Who would you have voted for?”
“Mitt Womee, like Maffew!”
“Good girl, Abigail!” Benjamin replied.
It was settled. As for Carpool #8 (is great), the votes were in.
Barak Obama – 1
Mitt Romney – 2
“Mitt Womee” – 2
(Can you tie with yourself? Not sure about the political logistics of that one.)
Matthew and Abigail still have no idea what a “Mitt Womee” is, but they cast their vote nonetheless.
This carpool situation really stuck with me for many reasons – none of which are political, but all of which are essential.
Reason #1 – Kids are always listening. Always. What you do, or do not, talk about at the dinner table matters. “We don’t like Bockabama.” comes out of their mouths quite easily, even though they may be certain that a Bockabama is a type of evil ninja game. They have no clue. But, they’re certain it ain’t good. They hear Mommy and Daddy say it, so they say it. Period.
My friend, this is good and bad. I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if, for at least the next three years and eleven months, we spent as much time and energy talking all about Jesus, and Peter, and Paul, and James at the table? Would they be able to go to school and say, “I want to be brave like Peter. He faced death because he loved Jesus. They even cut his head off. Whoooaaa.” Or, maybe they’d meet a new friend named James, and say “Oh, cool! That’s the same name as Jesus’ brother. Did you know, he didn’t believe Jesus was the Son of God until after Jesus died!? Isn’t that crazy!?” Kids listen to what we say, especially when we don’t know they are listening. That’s their favorite time to listen, in fact. What would happen if we now focused those debates on which king of the Bible was the noblest, or which disciple they are most like? I can only imagine the impact it could have on their sweet little minds.
Reason #2 – If you don’t address an issue with your kids, someone else will. I heard a sermon today by James Dobson on talk radio (see, I listen to talk radio…just not the political kind) say “You need to set the priorities for your family. If you don’t, someone else will.” Great point. My own children had never heard anything about this political debate from Ryan or I, until after they’d already cast their vote. Thankfully it was pretend. Thankfully it wasn’t a crucial issue in their current moral or spiritual lives. It wasn’t about them taking drugs, or getting into a car with a stranger, or showing someone their private parts. If we don’t address it, they may not be prepared for when it’s time for them to cast their vote about the subject. They may hear what the other kids are doing at school, and just go along with what they say, and with what they do. It doesn’t take much for our kiddos to get swayed one way or another.
Look at my sweet Benjamin. He went to kindergarten that day a normal six-year-old kid who still can’t tie his shoes and just lost his first tooth. He came home a Republican. Just like that. His decision had been made. His conviction was strong. And, I had nothing to do with it. I had no influence. I had given him no guidance. Scary, isn’t it?
Please hear me, friend – this is not a political blog. I am not a political person.
I am not shaming myself for not previously talking about the political election. Although, I am thankful for the many discussions we have gotten to have about it all since then. It did open my eyes to the impact politics can have (or not have) on a family.
I am sharing this because of the possible tragedy that could occur –
If we are more intentional about informing our kids how to vote for president, and not on how to live for Jesus.
If we focused more on their knowledge of party lines, that their desire to cross society’s lines to help those in need.
If we modeled our tendency to see everything through a political lens first and a spiritual lens second.
It could be bad, friend. Very, very bad.
Now, can you successfully do all of the above? Can you love Jesus and Fox News as well? YES! Of course. But, if we have to pick a side to emphasize, I wonder which one we’d choose.
They both matter. One, just matters for eternity.
But, please hear me, friend if we are still friends, I do love Jesus. I do love my kids. And I do plan on investing a ton of time, energy, effort, prayer and love in trying to make sure they know both of those facts. I want them to know where I stand on matters of the heart. I want them to know where I stand on divorce. On drugs. On pre-marital sex. On gossip. On fear. On giving.
I want them to know, not so I can force my beliefs on them. I want them to know because I want them to know the Truth of the Bible more than anything else in this life.
I don’t let myself get appalled at who won this election. At how the media skewed the coverage of certain issues. Or, at the backlash from all of the above.
I honestly don’t have time.
I’d rather get appalled that 25,000 people in this world will die today, yes TODAY alone, because they don’t have food and water that’s safe enough to eat and drink.
I’d rather get appalled that the church is dying, those who profess Jesus do it quietly, and more people are willing to put a Romney sticker on their SUV than their church’s sticker.
I’d rather get appalled that people will strongly support their candidate in public, but cower at the opportunity to stand up for Jesus in public. Fortunately, Jesus is God and doesn’t need us to stand up for Him. He sure does want us to, though, for the record.
It wouldn’t hurt to remind you, that this is not a political blog. I am not a political person.
The time, energy, and money you spend on issues like politics is between you and God. The amount of brain space you save for that stuff is your prerogative. But, here is the truth, my friend, your kids are getting older every day. Your moments of time with them are short. The words you get to say to them are few. They words they actually listen to are even fewer.
Make. Them. Count.
Not for election day. But, for eternity.
Because, one day, you will literally look our Savior in the face and answer for these things and more. Your vote for president, while important here, will be irrelevant there.
God is bigger than all of this stuff. He knows the electoral spread for every election for the next thousand years. He is in control.
And in case your heart needs one more encouragement…
Romans 13:1 “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
Does that mean God wants Obama to be president. No. Maybe yes. Who knows?
But, He most certainly allowed it.
He can be trusted. In all things – He is big enough.
Now, enough of this mess. Go play with your kids!