Today is election day. Am I the only one letting out a big sigh of relief?! It’s been a stressful election season, to say the least. No matter what side of the aisle you choose, the 24 hour media cycle, combined with the extra long campaigning (starting last winter for the early January IA caucus), has brought a fair amount of stress into people’s lives. A few weeks ago, Jason and I had to force ourselves to take a media sabbatical because it was consuming our thoughts and discussions. So, in an effort to celebrate democracy and freedom, while limiting stress and division this election day, here are a few childhood lessons to help de-stress your election day.
1. Mind your own beeswax.
It’s a simple lesson we all learned in school… to mind your own business. It’s quite important today as well. Do not tell acquaintances who you are voting for and certainly don’t ask others who they’re voting for. Especially keep this in mind at work. More than likely your family and close friends already know your opinions about politics, but discussing this with acquaintances only creates divisions that you may never quite recover from.
2. Be proud of the red, white, and blue.
Kids are quick to get excited about America, even without the years of life perspective. Appreciate democracy today! Instead of dreading the long lines and extra time spent going to vote, take the time in line to reflect upon what a blessing it is to be able to participate in such an important election. Countless lives have been lost fighting for our freedoms and voting is an honor that we should be proud to wait in line for. You might even want to dress in red, white, and blue… a kid would!
3. Allow yourself to be distracted.
Kids are naturally great at distracting themselves. Visit any kindergarten classroom, if you don’t believe me. Do not let election night start too early, making it all you do for the evening. Keep the TV off after dinner and go for a walk with your family or play a game. Maybe even enjoy a hobby. Do something to distract yourself, besides watching the news anchors inaccurately predict the outcomes, which creates much more stress in the long run. Later in the evening you can turn on your favorite station to stay informed on the progress. Don’t worry, you won’t miss the big news.
4. You’re not the boss of me.
As the youngest of four girls, I probably said this about five hundred times as a kid. Inevitably you will have an encounter with someone who does not see things as you do. Instead of judging them and letting your anger overcome you, try to stand united as recipients of this gift of freedom. It’s good to remember that no one is forcing you to vote a certain way, so you should also not judge others for their choice either. On election day, you are your own boss. Don’t try to be someone else’s boss.
5. You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.
This was a popular line in my kindergarten class. I said it so often that the kids would actually use it on their own with their peers. Basically, when it’s all said and done and the final states have been counted, you need to be able to accept the reality of the election outcome. No fits allowed.
It’s important to maintain perspective today and to celebrate the freedom we have to be able to partake in the decision making process of choosing our leader. At the end of the day, we all want what’s best for the country, even if we may disagree on how that should be accomplished. Practice respect in your interactions and pride in your country.
These were great tips. At 7 o’clock I found myself clicking the ‘refresh’ button on the state map every 5 seconds. After almost 15 minutes of this I realized that this was way stupid. So I took my dog for a walk, I played a game, and you were right! My roommate, who had been watching tv all night, came in to tell me who won.
What excellent advice – and now that the election’s over and we can get on with more important decisions (such as grilled cheese vs bologna), the advice still rings true! I’ve heard little discussion today about the results, but there was one comment I heard on the news, a disparaging comment made about one particular political party, that gave me pause for thought. The comment itself did not disturb me, as it was merely an opinion. It was the rancor with which the words were said that I found disturbing. The speaker definitely was suffering from a very severe case of adultitis!
Kim: I wished that I had read your blog on election day. I would have made copies of it for 2 guys going at it about the presidential election. It got quite heated and being the boss of these guys, I thought one went over the line and I thought he engaged in intimation and I will not allow that at my place. I think that our society has gotten plain rude. I think many of us practice what we see on talk TV: Don’t allow the other person to make his/her point by butting in and talking louder and over the other person. Remember, you never learn anything by talking and God gave you 1 mouth and 2 ears!
Just saw this article today – I love it! I really liked the part about dressing up – that really makes a day of it. This is a day to be have fun and relax if we ever needed it.
P.S. How about we make the day after election day an Insta-party and call it Election Recovery Day. Win or lose we probably all need it! :)
Thanks for all of the great comments everybody!
Jillian, good for you, for not letting it consume your entire night. I bet the walk and the game were a nice break.
Yes, I’ve noticed that the divisive comments about the election are tied right into the level of Adultitis people are dealing with. It’s good to keep it all in perspective… sometimes the act of voting on silly things like grilled cheese vs. bologna helps!
I’m sorry to hear you had an argument at your workplace. UGH. Adultitis strikes again. Sounds like your staff are blessed to have you and your wise perspective around.
Election Recovery Day… I love it!
It IS reason to celebrate the fact that it’s finally over!! I told Jason today, isn’t it nice to NOT have the election to talk about?!
Steven Sauke says
I too wish I had read this on election day. I was trying to search for a job and keep up with election results. Concentrating on the job search was nearly impossible, especially the more the races seemed to be turning out the opposite of what I voted. We’re in for 4 interesting years.
Steven Sauke says
P.S. I vote grilled cheese-and-bologna sandwich! :-)