I read an opinion piece today (over on the New York Times Website, check it out here) about Children attending the rallies of President Donald Trump. Whilst I would never take my child to a massive Trump rally (or any size trump rally to be frank), a lot of the comments I read were pretty negative about children attending political events regardless of where they were on the political spectrum, which hit home pretty close because I can’t count the number of political and civic events that my daughter has attended either with myself or with her mother.
The comments ranged from calling it abuse, to brainwashing, neglect and indoctrination? But is exposing your child to your political beliefs bad? I certainly don’t think so. Getting a child involved with politics from a young age is a good thing, at least to my mind. From a few months old, my daughter has been attending council meetings, and came with us to literally hundreds of civic events during her mothers tenure as Deputy Mayor, and then as Mayor, and continues to come with me in my role as Vice Chairman of Cwmbran Council.
Marianna has attended Gay Rights Campaign Days, Military Parades, museum openings, Mayor Makings, Holocaust Memorial Services and disability support groups, countless shop openings and prize evenings, and all because her Mother and Myself are both councillors. And she loved it, I’m not saying she wasn’t bored, and in some instances didn’t know what was going on, (at the age of 3 or 4 months old she attended the selection of the candidate to be our local Member of Parliament), but all this involvement with the political world has actually helped with her development, over the past year, shes gone from a shy and timid girl, to the point where she’ll actually engage with and contribute to conversations with Members of Parliament and the House of Lords.
Her engagement with politics, especially at the local level, has given her a sense of civic duty and a good helping of community spirit, she often makes complaints about the state of litter and dog fouling in the local area, and has been helpful in doing her bit to improve our local community.
I think though, my favourite moment of Marianna’s political involvement , is the during the 2017 general election, when she came with me to the polling station and then after casting my vote, she then decided to have a screaming fit because she couldn’t vote herself.
And from my own point of view, I love being able to share this part of my life with my daughter, how many parents out there would love to be able to involve their children in more aspects of their life, I get to take my daughter to work, and hopefully she takes in both her parents trying to make their corner of the world a better place to live in.