You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Bring the Family

Voting is a family affair

Bill Greene/Globe staff/file 1998

WHO: Mark Shanahan of the Globe staff with his children

WHAT: Voting

Continue reading below

WHERE: Medford

I might feel differently if we lived in a big city where Election Day can mean standing in a long line in the bitter cold. But we don’t.

So when the clock strikes Nov. 6, I’ll be taking the children to my polling place at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford, where some friendly old folks seated behind a card table will welcome us with a weak smile, and hand me a ballot. (If you’re not sure about where you vote, the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office has the information.) We’ll then go into one of the booths and, after looking over our choices, play a quick game of “rock, paper, scissors” to decide who we’re voting for. (Oh, relax, it’s just a joke.)

Voting is something we do together in our family. Always has been. For Julia, who turned 12 last month, this will be her fourth presidential election. And Beck, who turned 8 in September, will watch his mom and/or dad cast a ballot for a commander in chief for the third time. (Along the way, there have been several congressional, council, and school committee contests.)

Why do we bring the children to the polls? Because we’re trying to teach them that voting is cool — even if the candidates on the ballot frequently aren’t. Barely 50 percent of eligible voters in the US bother to show up on Election Day, and that’s 100 percent appalling — especially, I like to remind the children, when people elsewhere are sacrificing their lives just for a chance to vote. The kids also have the day off from school, so why not take the opportunity to give them a real-life civics lesson?

Beck, in particular, could stand to know a little more about presidents and politics. Born just as George W. Bush was beginning his second term, Beck knows that another George — George Washington — was the father of our country. But he’s a little hazy after that.

When I asked him a year ago to name the second president of the United States, he took a deep breath.

“George Clooney?” he said. (Beck also seems to think the name of the Republican candidate this year is “Nitt.”)

Informed or not, he and his sister will be voters when they grow up.

Polls are open on Nov. 6 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Mark Shanahan can be reached at shanahan@
globe.com
.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.