What I Will Teach My Children About Our President

Yesterday, I tried to talk to my kids about the election.

William, who is four, was setting out a game based on Richard Scarry’s Busytown. “So, William, do you know there’s an election tomorrow?”

He shook his head.

“Do you know who our President is?”

“Obama,” he said, without looking up, placing Huckle and Sally into their respective holders.

“Do you know what the President does?”

He shook his head again. “Mom,” he said, finally meeting my eyes. “I’m ready.”

I abandoned the conversation.

When Penny, who is almost seven, came home, I said, “Pen, do you know there’s an election tomorrow?”

She looked at me earnestly but also shook her head.

“Do you know who our President is right now?”

“Barack Obama.”

She went on to tell me that he should be president again because she loves him. She also made it clear that she has no idea what a President does, and when I mentioned that he lives in Washington, D.C., she promptly pointed to the state of Washington on the map of the United States. Clearly our family civics lessons are not up to par.

But then I thought back to my own childhood, and I realized that although I had a vague awareness of the Reagan/Mondale contest in 1984, the first election I can remember with any detail was in 1988, when I was eleven years old. One of my father’s best friends was working for the Dukakis campaign. My father is a lifelong Republican, so I was intrigued by the dinner conversations between these two. Up until then, I recall no interest in or even awareness of the political life of this nation. My kids may well be following in my footsteps.

Continue reading What I Will Teach My Children About Our President as my final post in a series about the election for parents.com

About Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker writes and speaks about family, faith, disability, and culture. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she is the author of Penelope Ayers: A Memoir, A Good and Perfect Gift (Bethany House), and Why I Am Both Spiritual and Religious (Patheos Press).

Comments

  1. Beautifully stated. Thank you.

  2. Three thoughts, AJ:
    1) Your proposed civics talks with the kids sound great.
    2) I love Richard Scarry.
    3) You were only 11 in 1988? Man, am I old!
    Tim
    P.S. Coincidence? I talk about the Constitution on my blog today too.


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