Friday, August 29, 2008

the political mind of a 6-year-old

**this happened yesterday but i wanted to wait until today to post it. hence the talk about bill & hillary's speeches.

we've been getting up at 6:10 a.m. every morning (ugh) since school started last week so we have plenty of time to get ready, coax the kids to eat breakfast, tell them 10 times to get dressed, tell them 50 times to stop fighting, tell them 8 times to brush their teeth...well, you get the idea.

since we've had some extra time in the morning, to distract us from said tasks, we have been turning on the morning news, which we used to never watch. we do tivo the 6 o'clock news with brian williams (no we are not old people, we just love brian williams though!), but it's been interesting to get the morning perspective instead of waiting till the end of the day to hear what happened the night before, especially during the Democratic National Convention this week.

this morning, i had asked the kids to wait in the living room while i finished getting everything ready to go so we could get out the door quickly. the tv was on, and there was coverage of bill's speech last night and then mention of hillary's speech the night before. gillian was staring at the tv intently (which in itself is not impressive because this child loves tv more than anyone else i know besides my sister), and suddenly, after the newscaster said something about hillary saying that obama would be a great president or something, she looked at us and said, "why does she care?"

i thought i knew what she meant, but i didn't want to assume our 6-year-old daughter was suddenly being politically astute. so i said, "what do you mean?" and we went back and forth for a minute, and without me leading her there, she said, "well she used to say she wanted to be president and that he wouldn't be a good president. so now why is she saying he WOULD be a good choice?"

at this moment, i was so proud. rick and i looked at each other and gave each other invisible high fives with our eyes. i'll be honest: lately i've been struggling as a parent and haven't had many of these celebratory parental moments, where i think i've done anything but screw my kids up. but at this moment, i thought, "we really ARE doing something right. we are teaching her to be observant, to know about current events, to be a critical thinker."

so once we got in the car i tried to explain to gillian and aedan what happens leading up to a presidential election and how it gets narrowed down to 2 people. have you ever tried explaining this to a 6-year-old and a 5-year-old? it's near impossible. but finally i resorted to this:

mom: let's pretend that you guys are republicans and me & dad are democrats, and we all want to be president and we're all trying out.

gillian & aedan: (groans) we want to be the democrats. (ok, this is very interesting, because we are registered as independents, and we don't talk about one party being more or less desirable than the other)

mom: ok, ok, just listen. so let's say that you guys are in a contest and you say "i'm better, no i'm better, no i'm better, no he's bad, no she's bad." and dad & i are running against each other and we're saying "i'm better, no i'm better."

gillian & aedan: "i'm better, no i'm better, no i'm better, NO I'M BETTER, NO I'M BETTER..."

mom: guys, knock it off.

gillian & aedan: ok, sorry.

mom: so people vote and let's say they choose me over dad and they choose gillian over aedan.

aedan: oh man, I wanted to win.

gillian: mom, can i ask you a question?

mom: sure, what is it?

gillian: when are we getting to school?

so much for the politically astute. but i think they got it. i love these moments in parenting.

1 comment:

amommystory said...

Way to go Gillian! B and I were having the same discusion the other night... very astute of her, but she IS really really smart! H