a capitol field trip
I am a believer in hands-on and experiential learning. And I'm also a believer in exposing young children to big ideas. A couple of weeks back my husband took Matthew to the Utah State Capitol to see the legislative session. Jeremiah is a lawyer and a lobbyist and spent the last several weeks at the Capitol working. Matthew always asks if he can go with Jeremiah to attend his meetings. So Jeremiah planned to take Matthew on the last day of the legislative session when his work was basically done--both of them were tremendously excited for the field trip!
As a little bit of background, my husband has a deep love for the Constitution of the United States and its founding principles. So he often talks about how our country and states are set up and how laws are made as well as how deeply grateful he is for our liberties. He often talks about our responsibility to defend our freedoms and recognize the great blessings we've been given. I love that he does this. We also talk frequently about political ideals around the dinner table--so it's probably no surprise that Matthew is starting to form his own thoughts and opinions on issues and people running for public office.
The morning of the day they went to the Capitol, Matthew kept reminding me that he had an important meeting with Dad in the afternoon, and he couldn't be late for it. I told him that learning to read and write are essential skills for anyone who attends meetings at the Capitol because you have to take notes during meetings (it worked, and he finished his language skills with a little more gusto)!
They attended debates on both the House and the Senate Floor. Afterwords Jeremiah told me they were debating a law relating to abortion (our family is firmly and wholeheartedly pro-life), and fortunately Matthew has no concept of what an abortion is, but he was able to see how the legislators discuss ideas and reach conclusions that then may become laws. They also attended a brief meeting Jeremiah had scheduled as well as met several of Jeremiah's colleagues, and Matthew sweetly introduced himself as "a little lawyer."
Matthew came home with a piece of candy he'd saved for Abraham (which was beyond sweet) and a huge sense of pride that he was able to go to meetings with Daddy. While he won't remember the specifics of what he heard, he was able to experience life in a different way that day. He was able to get a little better view on what Jeremiah does for work as well as how lawmakers make laws. And maybe most importantly, he felt loved and important spending the day with Jeremiah. Our hope is that our children will view themselves as capable of being involved in important issues and as voices for articulating principles they believe in. It was a wonderful experience and one we intend to repeat often in the future.