The reality of campaigning has set in as I settle into a rhythm of canvassing - ie. knocking on doors and introducing myself to strangers. I love meeting people and cherish this opportunity to see the wonderful diversity of people that make up our neighbourhood. The tough part for me is keeping it brief. I want real connection and that takes more time than delivering a simple script of persuasion.
When I start canvassing I think about the fact that every door represents a story and I hope the fatigue of an intense schedule does not cause me to glaze over any conversation - but to be fully present to each person I meet. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to pray for someone who recently lost a grandchild and another resident who was in an accident and house ridden.
My family is also adapting to our new reality as my husband has taken on the role of primary parent in the house. I still get to make breakfast and pack snacks for camp - acts of love that I cherish knowing that the rest of the day will be focused on other people. I make sure to hug and kiss my kids every chance I get because my time with them these days is increasingly fleeting - between appointments. I make sure to carve out a few longer stretches, but for the most part, I rarely get to tell them bedtime stories these days.
The highlight this past week for me was when my kids came canvassing with me. I struggled with this decision because I didn’t want people to think I was using them as politicians often use puppies and babies for photo opportunities. However, my husband and I felt it was important they see what their mom is doing - that one day we can explain to them why this is important. This reflects some deeper reflections I have had recently about the importance of teaching and modelling civic engagement to our children.
I used to think participating in democracy boiled down to voting once every four years. I now realize it is a duty we have to champion a vision for the future. Those who have come alongside me are championing a vision of having a leader who is already a part of the community and wants to advocate for the needs of everyday residents. Most importantly, I think people have rallied around me because I genuinely care. If this resonates with you - I invite you to join me on this adventure. Sign up to volunteer today. www.lilycheng.ca/volunteer