It starts with a dumbfounded look and is usually followed by “How?” See, when most people hear that I am a Republican in a family that doesn’t share the same political affiliation me, it comes as a huge surprise. It’s not typical that a child leans further right than his or her parents, seeing as it is stereotypically the opposite. But being in the situation has given me a foundation unlike any I could have imagined it. It has taught me the value of knowing all sides of an arguments, strengthened my debating skills, and helped me feel confident in the conclusions I come to.

Growing up, my parents were never involved in politics. If it did come up in conversation, it was usually the day of the election after they have voted.  This is where I get the second dumbfounded look–since many know me to always be involved, talking about, or tweeting about politics.  With that, they never pushed a certain ideology onto me. It was more of an open conversation, talking about what was right and wrong and establishing a strong set of values that would guide me through life. My parents taught me the importance of standing strong in my beliefs and fighting for what I believed in.

With this as my foundation, I have been able to keep building upon on it. Through conversations regarding politics with my family, I have seen many different perspectives in arguments. Whether we are talking about gun control, abortion, or candidates, they are always there to provide those perspectives that I may not have. This allowed me to strengthen my debating skills because I am able to use my knowledge of the other argument to my advantage. Whether I use it to win the debate or to help me in my attempt to find common ground, it has come in handy more than once. On top of that, they pushed me to be confident in my views, since I have done my research and have thought out arguments.

Going into a liberal college with this foundation, I have been able to hold interesting conversations with friends and classmates on a wide variety of topics that I would otherwise not be able to have. We can find common ground, debate solutions, and allow our discussions to go above and beyond the daily banter between parties. It also has allowed me to be more open to different ideas and perspectives as I come across them.

For most people, having a different political ideology than their parents would be a strange situation. For me, it’s all I know. It has pushed me to not only become who I am today, but also gave me the qualities needed to pursue my dreams. My parents may not agree with me on many topics, but they do support me, and that’s all I need. Having a different upbringing than most in my position is something I am thankful for and will always be.

Bailey L
Bailey is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who enjoys writing, traveling, and coffee. When she isn't working, you can find her with her nose in a book or planning her next adventure.

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