Presidential Politics from the Perspective of a 7-Year-Old

How are you helping your kids understand what is going on this election? Are you letting them take everything in or are you censoring some information?

During the last presidential election, my family consisted of me, my husband, my son (who was 3) and my daughter (who was 14 months). This time around, the older kids are 7 and 5 and the twins are now almost 17 months old. We live in a larger home on more land. Both of our dogs have passed on, but we now have an outdoor cat who hangs out around here. We’re driving a minivan most places instead of a compact car.

And my oldest child can read. Everything.

For this reason alone I am ready to call a media blackout in our house. We already skip news when the kids are around because so much of it would cause them anxiety. The kids beg us to change the radio from talk radio to music when we’re on the road. And now I’ve got to stop reading news online when my son is awake because he reads over my shoulder, the little stinker.

My reason for shielding him from most of this is that I still like his innocence. I still want him to experience the world as new and wonderful and full of possibility. I don’t want him to see the politics of the adult world just yet because it ain’t a pretty place right now.

Regardless of which political candidates you support, the campaigns this year have already cranked up the vitriol. And I’m just tired of it. I am convinced that I will lose friends this year over Facebook political rants even though I have taken a silent oath to NOT post my political opinions there. Because, really, all I want to know is that you are doing well and I want to see cute pictures of your kids. I don’t want to hear that by electing so-and-so, we will be plunging the world into 1000 years of darkness. I just don’t.

And I really don’t want my kid to hear it because it isn’t genuine political discourse. It isn’t weighing the validity of an argument using facts and proof. It isn’t deciding if the moral implications of a particular vote outweigh the practical aspects. It isn’t educational and it isn’t cooperative and it just doesn’t show my kid how to play nicely with people who have different ideas than he does.

And now that he can read, I’m ratcheting up the censor button – not because I’m scared that someone else’s opinion might make him think differently about a situation, but because the way it is stated is unproductive crankiness unbecoming of people who really want to make a difference in the outcome of the election.  Because pointing fingers and blame and saying “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” isn’t going to make a difference at all. 

I try to teach my kids that being right isn’t more important than finding a solution. I try to teach my kids that if someone has a different idea, it is a good thing because we don’t want everyone we know to think the same way. I try to teach my kids that the people running for president both want to make the USA better and stronger, they just have different plans to get that done.  My kids understand this. They get that calling names and playing tricks and bending the words of another person are just not nice. They understand that even people who disagree about a lot of things can sometimes agree and that isn’t something to hide – finding common ground is something to celebrate.

My son asked me if the presidential candidates just have to say the opposite of what the other thinks even if they really don’t think that way. Truthfully, I told him that I sometimes think they do. And if my seven-year-old can figure this out, maybe there is some hope for the future after all…

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Alison Gowans September 12, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Thank you for that healthy dose of perspective, Courtenay!
V. Scheurich September 12, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Obama condemns Romney before.................condemning terrorists! When will Barack Obama's "Apology Tour" begin for Libya's killing of 4 Americans? http://weaselzippers.us/2012/09/12/obama-campaign-condemns-romney-before-condemning-terrorists-who-attacked-our-embassies/
Courtenay Baker-Olinger September 12, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Thank you, Alison!
Stephen Schmidt September 12, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Guys, did you even read the blog post above? Or are you trying to prove her point for her?
Stephen Schmidt September 12, 2012 at 05:29 PM
@Karl My objection was mostly to V. Scheurich's random comment that had almost nothing to do with the blog post above. It seemed to me a lot more like trolling than anything else. And as for Courtenay, I'm sure she can handle it.
Courtenay Baker-Olinger September 12, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Yes, I can handle this. And I do think that this is the perfect example of what I'm talking about -- I didn't post ANY opinion on any candidate because I wanted to address the manner in which political discourse is happening. Clearly, even neutral postings cause knee-jerk reactions these days...
Maria Houser Conzemius September 12, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Courtenay Baker Olinger, sounds like you're a good mom! Your son is developing good critical thinking skills. If only extreme partisans on both sides of politics had the same critical thinking skills!
Courtenay Baker-Olinger September 13, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Thank you, Maria -- it's always nice to wake up to a compliment. And my son is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself...
V. Scheurich September 13, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Barack Obama and his gay establishment visits: 1. http://www.manscountrychicago.com/about/about.html 2. http://newsboypost.blogspot.com/ 3. http://storyreportscomments.blogspot.com/2012/09/obama-was-in-closet-until-now.html 4. http://beforeitsnews.com/obama-birthplace-controversy/2012/08/obama-antichrist-is-a-pederast-2444020.html
Stephen Schmidt September 13, 2012 at 06:41 PM
CFBusinessOwner September 13, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Freedom of speech is great until folks abuse it. V. Scheurich seems to have an ax to grind and he's (correct gender?) using the CF Patch to vent. It sickens me to see such disrespect for the current POTUS. Unlike Scheurich, I don't find someone being gay as something wrong or evil. So call him gay if you want and sound like a thirteen year old boy who has a limited vocabulary and world view. I'll stick with reality. Double sigh.
Troy Murphy September 14, 2012 at 05:51 AM
Why would the disrespect of the current POTUS sicken you. The news media is to blame for that disrespect and should be expected. At one time we actually thought our President's were better men than the rest of us. The news media has destroyed that illusion. Just in my immediate memory I can remember the stories about the philandering of all the Kennedy's, the lying to congress by Nixon and his cover up of the Watergate break in, the infidelity of Clinton, the Partying of the younger Bush and the use of Coke amd Marijuana by our current President and that is just off the top of my head. I am sure if we wanted to dig their is a whole littany of other indiscretions by any number of Presidents. They have all proven that they don't deserve respect, they are politicians which by my definition makes them all liars. The only question in my mind is not which one wants to make it better but which one won't make it worse. This goes 10 times more for those running for congress. I guess I am just cynical.
Maria Houser Conzemius September 14, 2012 at 01:09 PM
+1, Stephen Schmidt!
Earl Higgins September 14, 2012 at 05:00 PM
V. Scheurich may not even be human - if you look at the posts from this entity, they are all just cut and pastes of each other. My guess is it's a script running on a server somewhere.
kim frey September 14, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Mitt Romney hides money in off-shore havens; went to France to avoid the draft; saw to it that none of his five sons served in the military; and was educated exclusively in private prep schools (never a day in public schools). Romney used Bain Capitola (his private equity company) to suck out billions of dollars from struggling companies (like Kaybee Toys & Ampad) thereby running them into financial ruin. First Bain Capitola gave the companies CEO's big bonuses to seduce them. Then Bain puts down a token amount of money and borrows the rest. They basically buy out the company to have a controlling stake in it, with or without the target company's agreement. He creates business deals in which the company he is targeting then owes that borrowed money to the bank directly. Then charges immense "management" fees. The company has to start tightening their belts in order to survive. So they slash jobs at the bottom and demand more from the remaining employees left. They slash benefits or retirement where they can. People at the bottom suffer. Jobs are lost and benefits are lost.
kim frey September 14, 2012 at 07:16 PM
He is not a job creator- he is a job killer. He has not cared to save jobs and basic things like health benefits for working parents and their children. Romney rails against national debt yet created a business model that deducts the interest on debt he set up to take out millions from the companies he is supposed to be "helping". As a private equity pirate he pays less taxes than most cops, nurses, teachers and firefighters.
forby September 15, 2012 at 12:30 AM
case and point.
forby September 15, 2012 at 12:32 AM
case and point, it didnt take long to prove her point about morons
Bye Bye Romney September 15, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Obama Erases Romney’s Edge on Economy (NY Times today): President Obama has taken away Mitt Romney’s longstanding advantage as the candidate voters say is most likely to restore the economy and create jobs, according to the latest poll by The New York Times and CBS News, which found a modest sense of optimism among Americans that White House policies are working. Romney's budget required taxing everyone making $100k/year or more and Romney said "That's not in the cards". Voters are seeing that his economic policy and projections are nothing but dreams. Romney is still dreaming.
Suzanne Freegard Schoenrock September 15, 2012 at 02:35 PM
What happened to the original intent of the blog...neutrality, working together, seeing both sides???


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