Monday, September 5, 2011

Public Policy from the 8-Year-Old

Recent conversation among DG, T1, and me in the car:

T1:  I don't want to hear the news anymore.  It's upsetting to me.

Me: What?

This is my first indication that he is even listening to what is on the radio, although I don't know why this is a surprise to me as he can cite the last 7 songs on Radio Disney at any given time.  We had just heard a story from the BBC that said parents could be cited with neglect for allowing their children to become obese.  It mentioned "adoption," indicating that children could be taken from their parents.

Me: Are you upset about that story?

T1: Yes, I would not want to be taken away from my parents.  And I worry that Super PACs will ruin the world as we know it .....

What?  DG's words, I think, coming right out of his mouth.  He has no idea what a Super PAC even is.

DG: You know, L. one of the most wonderful things about this country is that you can feel however you want about the government and say whatever you want.

T1:  I won't get in trouble?

DG: No, it's how things get changed in society.  People who feel strongly about something they don't like in their community, tell the person who represents them in the government.  It works in your school with the Student Council.

T1: I want to do that; I want to change things.

Me: Know what the best thing is to do?  If you want to make public policy when you're an adult?  You have to pay attention in school and do your homework.

T1: Oh. But I only get a half an hour for my homework.

Me: It's about thinking.  The deeper you think, the easier it is to decide what your answer will be. It's simpler really.

T1: Ok. Can we play Wii when we get home?

And with that, it was over, but are the makings of a little politician brewing?  Is he going to continue to his quest to stand up for what he believes in?  I sure hope so.  I LOVED this  exchange.  Just hearing something else coming out of the 8-year-old boy's mouth besides whatever's related to a video game was heartening.  But what's more inspiring is that his confidence is building.  He's thinking of running for 3rd grade rep for his class in the school student government system.  I'm thinking he's got the first glimpses of how his education affects the rest of his life (okay, maybe that's a stretch...)

I just hope he can remember this when homework time comes....