When my oldest child was born, my dad came into the hospital room and sat at the edge of the bed where I held my beautiful baby girl. He looked lovingly at his new grandchild and said, “You know, now that you have kids you’ll become more conservative.”

I don’t want anyone to think I am telling them how to vote. I do, however, want to let parents know how important their involvement in the political process is to their kids. I probably don’t have to tell you how lucky we are to live in a democracy and choose our leaders. As much as we appreciate it, do our kids? Have you discussed politics with them? Do you vote? Do you explain to your kids the importance of voting? I was lucky enough to have parents who instilled me with a desire to get involved politically.

Ever since I was little, my parents would explain what was going on in the world to me and my brother and what they thought about it. When it came time to vote, my younger brother and I got a lecture on the importance of voting even though we were years away from being able to do it ourselves. These speeches always ended the same way, “You don’t have the right to bitch and moan when things are bad, or take credit when things are good, if you don’t vote.”

As we got older, my parents prompted us to join in political discussions. They let us form and air our own opinions as long as they were coming from knowledge. I prepared for the dinner table because I wanted to sound intelligent and make my parents proud. When I was old enough to vote, I not only became an avid voter, I knew how to be an educated voter as well.Unfortunately for my dad, I didn’t become more conservative with age or children. Dad and I love to debate those issues and candidates on which we differ. And there are many. When the discussion turns to politics at family functions, my husband leaves the room and my mom turns off her hearing aids, but to me and dad, a good argument is the way we demonstrate our love and respect for one another. And, it’s how I let him know how much I appreciate him for molding me into a United States citizen.

Talk to your kids about politics, become involved if you’re not already, and teach them how to be educated voters, because, I know it’s cliché, but they are our future.