Press-Republican

FYI...

November 2, 2012

Talking to kids about elections - without bias

WASHINGTON — Election Day is less than a week away, and if you're like me and millions of other Americans, there are two words that describe your feelings: Thank God.

Imagine turning on the television without hearing about the 47 percent, moving forward, Question 7, Tim Kaine and George Allen. It's enough to make me giddy.

But as much as we might want this to be over, in these last few days of the campaign, there's a real opportunity for parents to help educate the next generation of voters.

On Saturday, I spoke at the Newseum as part of a program on talking to kids about elections. Brave parents and grandparents took time out from stocking up on bottled water and batteries ahead of Hurricane Sandy's arrival to let kids vote in a mock election, make campaign buttons and, heaven help them, hear me talk.

One boy, 12-year-old Drew, sat in the front row, looking engaged for my 30-minute presentation. I immediately liked this kid. Afterward, his grandmother approached me because Drew had an idea for a story KidsPost should do about the election but he felt too shy to suggest it.

His idea: What should a kid do when his mom wants to vote for one candidate and his dad for another? It was clear from the way the grandmother conveyed Drew's question that the red-blue divide created enough tension to make Drew uncomfortable.

This is not the first time that a lack of civility involving kids and the political process had reared its head this campaign season. My colleague Petula Dvorak wrote about a letter that a prominent Washington school sent home to parents, the gist of which was, "Tell your kids not to bully the Republicans in class."

These two incidents made me feel sad about the "teachable moment" that we parents are missing if what we impart to our kids this electoral season is that the candidate we support matters more than why we support him.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
FYI...
  • news_twitter.jpg Travelers fly on Air Twitter

    The enlightened age of social media has dawned over the airline industry, casting shadows over telephone call centers and on-site agents. Facebook and Twitter are racking up the friends and followers while the hold music plays on.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 297px-Starbucks_Corporation_Logo_2011.svg.png Why Starbucks won't recycle your paper coffee cup

    When you drop that used white paper cup into the bin next to the door at a Starbucks, have you done your part to save the planet? Starbucks has long hoped that you would think so. After all, there's no better way to attract an affluent, eco-conscious clientele than to convince customers that your disposable product is "renewable."

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 2.16.35 PM.png Are Americans smart to stop drinking diet sodas?

    Recent data from Beverage Digest suggest many are cutting back on diet sodas. Consumption of diet sodas fell more than that of sugary sodas in 2013. This raises two questions: Why is total consumption declining, and is drinking diet soda harmful to health?

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fast, cheap test can help save lives of many babies

    As Easley did more research into her daughter's death, she learned that a pilot program had started just months earlier at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md. (Easley had delivered at a different hospital in the Washington area.) The program's goal was to screen every newborn with a simple pulse oximeter test that can help detect heart problems such as Veronica's, allowing doctors to respond.

    April 12, 2014

  • Starbucks retools pastry menu after customer complaints

    After the coffee chain bought gourmet-baking company La Boulange in 2012, it used the acquisition to add fancier pastries to U.S. locations. Now Starbucks is discovering that some customers liked the food better before, prompting another round of retooling.

    April 11, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Taking someone out to the ballgame gets expensive

    Families in big-league cities like Boston and New York pay steep prices to catch a baseball game. It's not so expensive everywhere - especially if you're frugal.
     

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • How improv comedy skills became a must-have for entrepreneurs

    A few years ago, for complex reasons, I attended the orientation week for Columbia Business School students. The week involved team-building exercises that forced us to solve problems together.

    April 9, 2014

  • news_amazonfiretv.jpg Amazon introduces Fire TV to challenge Apple in living rooms

    Amazon.com Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is stepping up efforts to win over customers in their living rooms with a $99 TV box for watching digitally delivered shows and movies, challenging Apple's TV device.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hate With Friends, the fun new Facebook tool

    Hating movies, earworms, conventions of grammar, clothing brands, diet fads - you get the twinkle of pleasure without the glob of guilt, or the cold brush of fear. A Coldplay song doesn't know you hate it.

    April 7, 2014

  • Newborn.JPG Census: U.S. has fewest births since 1998

    The U.S. recorded the most deaths in its history and the fewest births since 1998, resulting in the lowest population gain from natural causes in 35 years, an analysis of 2013 Census Bureau estimates released Thursday shows.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo