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Navigating An Even Year
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It’s an even year, which can only mean one thing. Sorry Giants fans, this one is not for you. Oh, how I wish it were. To be quite honest I’m still recovering from the bitterness over the lack of a bullpen to help us maintain the post season tradition. But alas, we took a fall in an even year and so the 2016 World Series will belong to someone else.

In spite of this recent occurrence, I’m still a Giants fan and will remain one forever more. We’re a lucky lot to have witnessed the skills of our scrappy brood, doubted by many, fighters until the end.

The even year I speak of, is the one we encounter not every two, but every four years. Yes, I’m speaking of the ever (not so popular and somewhat painful) 2016 Presidential Election. We’re just weeks away from our civic duty and reporting to the polls to ‘cast our vote.’

This has been an interesting political season. The candidates have clearly gained a lot of media attention, as a parent however it’s been interesting to journey through the process through the eyes and questions of a nine- and 12-year-old.

My PIC and I began talking about the election and how we would parent during it in mid-summer. We recognized the opportunity for both conversation and education in the way of the minors we share space with. Then my daughter asked a question which made us more aware of our responsibility than ever before.

One night in early August she simply asked if it was against the law not to vote. Prior to this question she had heard inappropriate defaming comments made by Donald Trump and had become aware of the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal.

“One is a mean bully and the other lies,” she said. “Can you just not vote, mommy?”

Side note: Prior to this conversation we had spoken very little in our home about either candidate. Her question was prompted from reports she had heard via the radio and adult conversation she overheard while visiting family.

I shared with her my personal opinion on our civic responsibility to vote. The freedoms that we have, that have been protected and fought for so that we may have a voice. A freedom which many in other countries long for and often times spend their entire life trying to achieve. I shared stories of family members who have served our country so that we may continue to have these freedoms, as well as our own ancestry and what voting meant to our family members who had immigrated to America.

Then we faced the debates. My PIC and I knew as a team, that we wanted the children to watch the presidential debates, which would follow with family conversation. My oldest is 12; he will cast his first vote at the age of 20, which is just eight short years away. This to us, seemed important.

It’s interesting to watch the behavior of grown adults through the eyes of children. The first debate, is the first time I have heard my daughter speak to the TV as if the person could hear her.

Sure, we do our fair share of yelling at Buster Posey or Madbum on a home run hit, but that’s about it.

These debates boggled the mind of our two (somewhat) well-mannered children. Personally, I was proud of what they observed, as it showed us they were truly paying attention and not just watching because they had to.

Key points they noticed most were: interrupting, avoiding questions and making mockery of topics they (as children) find important. The position of the moderator confused them a bit, as maintaining order seemed to get the best of Lester Holt.

I’m proud to share we are now two debates down as a family with tonight’s being our third and final before opening discussion on who gets our vote November 8. As adults, we each respect the privacy of making our selections confidential. As parental figures, we also embrace the lesson of how to choose the candidate which best represents our ideals.

So that’s what we’ve gained this ‘even’ year as a family. Watching the Giants in some postseason magic would have been my preference. But that’s part of being a ‘grown-up,’ we don’t always get dealt the hand we might choose, yet somehow we persevere. If we’re lucky, we teach them (the little people) half as much as they teach us. God Bless America … Go vote.


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.