They have more power than we give them credit for - soft power, that is. And yesterday Laila, my 12 year-old grand daughter seized that power, when she posed the question to Khizr Khan. Yes, the same Khizr Khan who is married to Ghazala, and lost a son in the Iraq war.
Laila was at the APPNA conference – the Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America—where Khizr Khan met with the children of APPNA families. Talk about focusing your energies where it matters the most. You can bet that the elections and the ‘what ifs’ was on the minds of the children.
“What can those too young to vote, do to help?” Laila asked him.
Aren’t you proud of her!
“Wonderful question.” He answered. “Make the adults vote. And if they don’t, they have to make you dinner.”
MAKE THE ADULTS VOTE.
And that is at the heart of it.
Adults, are you listening to your children? Vote.
Listen to your heart: Vote.
Listen to your candidate of choice: Vote.
Every vote counts; and yes, one vote will make the difference (excuse the cliché )
Your vote will make the difference.
My Friendly Voting Guide
- Have you recently moved? Register, and find out the address of your polling station.
- Are you a citizen, but have not registered to vote? Register. Do it now. As in NOW.
- Are you a college students away from home? Check out the voting rules and get to home base if you have to.
- Mark Election Day on your calendar: Tuesday, November 8.
- Take half a day off from work. You are entitled, but if that is not possible, line up at the polling station before the polls open. Surgeons, check out your O.R. schedule now; business people, make sure you are not traveling.
- Are you out of the country on Election Day? Get your absentee ballot process going – NOW.
Participate in the ‘get the vote out’ movement:
- Tell your family and friends to register and vote.
- Volunteer at voter registration booths set up at places of worship and community centers.
- Give a ride to a disabled, elderly or infirm neighbor, voter-without-a-car; carpool, or whatever it takes to get the voter to the voting booth.
Remember, your opponent is counting on you to ‘not vote’.
Why am I even writing about this?
Because little Laila expects us adults to take our rights seriously, and uphold the privilege granted to us by the American constitution. She is counting on us to do our share to ensure that:
she is free to practice her faith;
she is not afraid to say, ‘I am a Muslim’;
she can be proud of her leader;
she feels safe;
and, she has a future.
Children have that power over us.
I know that for sure, because this episode reminded me of the influence my children had in making me an observant Muslim. There was a time in my life when I had drifted away from the rituals of the faith, as in prayer and fasting. All that changed when one day, my son came home from Sunday school and said:
“Mummy, Ramadan starts tomorrow . . . . Aren’t you going to fast?”
“Yes, yes, of course I am.”
Vacation over. Start fasting.
“Mummy, it will be prayer time in ten minutes.”
Pull out that prayer rug and get on with it.
In the cool shade and gentle breeze of helicoptering children, we are becoming better citizens.
Parents, get your children to vote you in for the ‘I Am Proud of Mom & Dad’ award.
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