Saturday, June 29, 2013

Anti-Poverty Mom Blog: 7 Reasons You Should Take Your Kids to Lobby Congress

Spending quality time with family and anti-hunger advocacy are two activities that can take up a lot of time.  But as blogger and anti-poverty advocate Cindy Levin, a mother of two girls, tells you, they are not incompatible.  In her blog Anti-Poverty Mom: Fighting Poverty at Home and Around the World, Cindy wrote a great piece pointing out why it is a good idea to take your children on visits to your legislator's office.

Summer's here!...which brings two important events together for parent advocates: congressional recess and summer vacation. Congressional recess is an ideal time to get some quality face-to-face time with your U.S. senator or representative in your local district. District meetings are great because you can talk without them being distracted by all the beltway shenanigans clamoring for attention in D.C. The typical duration of a D.C. visit tends to be about 15-25 minutes. Face-to-face meetings I've attended with members of Congress (MOC) in a home district have lasted close to an hour. That's a lot of personal attention! So, summer is an ideal time to get some face time. But now that school is out, what should you do with your kids while you lobby? My answer: take 'em along.

Cindy lists seven reasons to take your children on a congressional visit.

#1 You may get unexpected face-to-face time and photo ops
Guess what? In general, to an MOC your kids are cuter and more interesting than you are. There's a reason for the tradition of politicians kissing babies.

#2 Nobody wants to be on record being rude to a child
If they don't happen to agree with you, it's highly unlikely that anything will get contentious in front of your children.

#3 You'll make a memorable impression
Good relationships are the key to great advocacy. If you're MOC remembers you by name with a positive association, that's the best. If your kids are polite and respectful, they'll be grateful you're breaking up the routine of their day and be more likely to remember you next time.

#4 It keeps the conversation at the emotional and moral level 
Kids relate best to the moral reasons to help people in need. They have an innate sense of fairness and justice.

#5 You're helping kids grow up to be better citizens
I was terrified with nerves the first time I met my Congresswoman face-to-face. Kids, unlike many grownups, are fortunate to see MOC's as people instead of titles. My children know their Congresswoman as someone who laughs with them and even writes them letters sometimes.

#6 You save on babysitting money
Enough said.

#7 The only thing better than saving the world is saving the world...together
 Along with making great homemade bread, making the world a better place is definitely a legacy I wish to hand down to my girls. We all learn by doing and doing it together makes it more special.

These are just excerpts, and Cindy has much more to say about each of these reasons.  That's why you should read  the full blog post (And check out the great photos!)

Cindy Levin is an advocate with RESULTS and @Shot at Life.  She has also done advocacy for The ONE Campaign and Bread for the World.

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