My 8 year old son had an assignment today to imagine he were the President of the United States. It was a great assignment and he brought that work home for us to review and his writing made me realize that this little guy understands more about the world than I give him credit.
He was asked to complete the following four sentences:
1 – If I were President, I would….
2 – My biggest goal would be to……
3 – The hardest part of being the President would be…..
4 – The best part about being the President would be……
Here were his answers:
It’s cute that the thing he’d like most about being POTUS is living in the White House (yes, he left that last word off) and it makes sense that he would not like working all day and night because that would leave little time to play outside. These are typical responses of an 8 year old boy who loves to play sports and dreams of living in a mansion.
But the answers on the left were surprising even to his father.
Those who follow my blog or Twitter feed know that I am unabashedly Conservative and enjoy giving my opinions on politics but I am careful how much I discuss politics around the children. When the subject matter warrants, I do engage in political talks with my kids but I try to leave the editorial comments out and focus strictly on the facts. As my children get older we’ll engage in more detailed political discussions and as long as they enter the conversation with facts and form their own opinions on those facts and their view of the world then I will have no issue if they choose a different political persuasion. I want them to make their own decisions, do their own research and not be mindless clones who only parrot what their father tells them. For my son, I had not thought that he had advanced enough to be able to comprehend current events so our talks have been very superficial, especially after the recent terrorist bombings in Boston.
But it’s obvious from the way he completed sentences 1 and 2 that my son has been following the news over the past couple of years because he has a legitimate concerned about the safety of our country. It speaks to the world we live in that my 8 year old son thinks his biggest goal as POTUS would be to ensure that there are no attacks on the US during his 4 years in the Oval Office.
Don’t get me wrong, ensuring there are no attacks on US soil is not just an admirable goal but the duty of every POTUS, but to think this is on the mind of a 2nd grader should give all of us pause. Even if some adults don’t like to think about it, our kids know that our country is vulnerable to attack. While they might not have been alive during 9/11, they study it in school and the events of last week don’t do much to assure them that this attack was an isolated occurrence. From the mouths of babes…..
If there is one thing I’ve learned by being a parent for the past 11+ years, it’s that we coddle our kids too much and don’t give them enough credit in being able to handle difficult situations and topics. They take in more than we know and it’s not too early to engage them in conversations about real world events and threats. Who do you want your children to get their political news from? You or their teachers?