Don’t count ’em out until the game is over. Parents typically don’t know how many innings there are to the ball game called raising kids, nor do we know when the winning touchdown is going to be scored.

As parents, our coaching job is to teach the game emphasizing penalties and scoring points. Are our kids going to be winners? Maybe. But if we teach them the essence of the plays, they will be able to learn how to win.

We can’t know when the kids will bring home the trophy. We can’t determine when the words, deeds and lessons we teach will show up on the “later in life” scoreboard.

I found the payoff, the winning touchdown, the other day on Facebook, of all places.

Maybe it wasn’t me but President Donald Trump who spurred on my daughter to run with the ball. Perhaps I planted the seed and he came along with the watering can.

On my Facebook page I saw a post from my smiling fifty-something daughter showing her with an American flag wrapped behind her and urging her followers to register to vote.

Ah, some 40 years ago my girl Pia and her sister Peggy were integral parts of the postcard voter registration drives I conducted in the ’hood.

Did they wanna do it?  Probably not. Did they do it? Well, I don’t deal with what kids want. My kids are required to learn the rules of the game and play accordingly.

Pia and Peggy stood outside supermarkets, check cashing outlets, welfare offices and the other gathering spots in our neighborhood.

How many people did they register? The numbers were never part of the formula for winning. So we didn’t count. We just turned in the postcards to the County Registrar of Voters Office.

My two young girls grew up, went to college and moved away from home. I’ve never checked on their commitment to making it to the polls. I’ve not continued the lecture reminding them of the voting rights that their black ancestors fought and died for.

But Trump’s election and questionable appointments and actions have brought attention to the rules of the game for them.

While over the years I’ve heard my oldest daughter (not one of the two who registered voters) complain that voting doesn’t matter, that’s not the same tune this one is singing in 2018. 

And my youngest daughter, who still lives at home, complained every year after she registered to vote at the age of 18. 

“Why?” she would whine.

“What a nuisance,” this daughter proclaimed year after year and then finally did a mail-in ballot while I stood over her with a “Don’t make me have to …“

Times have changed — she now reports and discusses every move Trump makes. But the game has not changed. Those who register and vote play to win.

The last day to register for the Nov. 6 election is Oct. 22.  Last day to request a mail-in ballot is also Oct. 22.

The local League of Women Voters chapter puts on information forums and if contacted will provide someone to present the issues for individual groups and organizations. Contact LWV by visiting lwv-pas.org, email office@lwv-pas.org, or call (626) 798-0966.

Think about making the kids part of this all important civic responsibility by giving them a sample registration form — they can learn the rules early in life and be prepared to win the game later.

Once registered, much election-related info is available at lavote.net .

Doing a mail-in ballot? Give the young ones the thrill of putting it in the mailbox or handing it to the postal carrier.

Voting at the polling place?  Take the kids with you.

Voting can be a family affair. Start them early and be amazed with what shows up on the “later in life” scoreboard.