Taking things seriously

Published 7:39 pm Saturday, February 4, 2012

They won’t be able to vote in the Republican primaries this year or in the general election in November, but a group of children at Creekside Elementary School got an education on politics during a special teleconference in which they met and listened to former first lady Barbara Bush.

It was a nonpartisan call for youngsters to learn about America’s political process early in life and to become involved in it at some level even before they are old enough to vote.

There’s a lot to be said for letting kids be kids and letting adults worry about things like presidential elections. But a realistic look at the world reveals that children are overwhelmed by many of the same messages about politics and policy that often overwhelm their parents. And their young minds are especially likely to be turned by disingenuous rhetoric.

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Finding a way to teach those children how to learn the truth about candidates and policies, how to discern campaign bluster and rhetoric from reality and how to make their own informed decisions about the people who seek their support will help groom a new generation of smart, savvy and involved voters who understand the political process and, more importantly, the need for them to enter it with open eyes.

For the children at Creekside, whose class was honored to have been one of only 20 chosen from around the nation to ask Mrs. Bush a question during the teleconference, the event appeared to have been something they took very seriously. They were quiet and attentive, many of them looked to have worn their Sunday best for the event, and they seemed interested in hearing what the former first lady had to say.

The nation can only hope that such events help groom a generation that takes its responsibility to the republic as seriously.