Here’s a boatload of wisdom pulled from a then eleven-year-old. I wrote this then and find it applies today as much as it did then. Maybe more.
Here’s one I had a good laugh over. As an explanation, I bought a pack of TableTopic cards for the family as a Christmas present. I thought it would be a way to get us talking about things other than who pushed who in the lunch line. I’ve also noticed that my wife and I make sure we sit with the kids at dinner so we can talk about a card. We pull a card each night at dinner, and it’s open talk time. Everyone gets a turn to answer, and any question or answer is fair. For those who no longer understand the idea, we call it Free Speech. We made some rules about laughing and fairness, and, truth be told, it’s been a great thing for the family.
Since my wife is still recovering from surgery, I drove the girls to school today. Of all things, M asked me if I was voting for Trump.
“Well,” I said, “that’s a long way off. First, we vote for who will run for the democrats and republicans, then we vote in what’s called the general election. That’s where we elect a president.”
R shouts from the backseat. “But Trump’s been impeached! He broke the law!” Eleven-year-old drama is dying to spill out.
I bring it down a notch. “I can’t see that anyone cares except for people who hated him before. But you’re right, democrats think he broke the law. Republicans say he didn’t.”
M pipes up. “I don’t think we should have a president who can’t keep the laws about being president.” I imagine her in the back, arms crossed, daring anyone to disagree, burning coals for eyes.
“I think there will be a lot of people who agree with you,” I say.
Then she says something I can’t imagine any other young girl saying. It’s the same feeling I get when I see Chopped Kids on TV. Who are these kids who sprinkle foie gras bits over an arugula salad with raspberry dressing? Weird. When I was their age, I spent my time drawing pictures of stegosaurs and pterodactyls and wondering how I could work up the spine to call Patti on Friday.
So, M says, “I think we should be talking more about the election at the dinner table.”
“About the election,” I ask? “At dinner?”
“Right. Like our cards. We should talk about what we think and how it all works.”
When I’m home from dropping the kids off, talking to my wife, curled comfortably in bed, I tell her that I hope I live long enough to see what the girls end up doing.
I don’t usually come back and edit Crumbs, but lots of folks have been interested in these TableTopic cards. We pick one each night to start a conversation. If you’re buying, there are all kinds of these things, and you have to be careful to get something family rated. It’s a surprise to me, but my eleven-year-olds love them. We have a rule that everyone gets to have a say. I wonder if this permission to have an opinion is part of the appeal? Check them out.