It’s amazing what a difference a few years can make in parenting situations. I’m not just talking about the fact I never — or rarely, but they escape memory — had political conversations with my parents during my formidable years.
But as my daughters have grown, political topics have became more and more frequent related to life conversations.
I could go into a diatribe about how politics should never or rarely be a topic to cover with kids —especially given the antics of our “leaders” on the federal and state levels. But that’s too easy a column to write. Leave it at our education system doesn’t teach basic civics, let alone the meaning and intent of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Then again, that might be the reason why I’ve had so many conversations with my kids about politics.
Regardless of the failures of our education system, it’s the success of our government intruding into nearly every aspect of our lives that prompts the myriad conversations I’ve had with my daughters at an ever-increasing rate. Two themes come to the forefront: secrets and freedom.
With my oldest daughter, the topics are covered with relative ease and understanding. Maybe that’s because she and I agree 99 percent of the time politically. Before you tell me I’m bullying or programming my oldest into it’s my way or the highway, note she disagrees with me on about 99 percent of my parenting advice. She’s a free thinker and independent young woman. She decided to move to Denver, get her own apartment and job and go to a community college instead of taking the same curriculum locally and living at home.
Also note that living in a “conservative” home — or homes with mom and I divorced — doesn’t guarantee a conservative kiddo. Where did all the crazy, anti-American liberals come from as kids of successful, two-parent, USA-loving homes from our not-too-distant past? I was talking with a good buddy the other night who I know to be almost — because NO ONE is, according to a recently elected commissioner — as “right wing” as me whose oldest is liberal and he couldn’t be more proud. I’ve known this young lady for years and know her to be one of the most thoughtful, loving and caring kids I’ve ever met. He told me his conversations with her are insightful and she can back up what she says. As it should be.
This sums up what I believe is my best parenting attribute. Loving, open-minded parenting gets you thinkers who understand freedom — especially that freedom doesn’t come from government, but is rather protected by it — and no one should lose it no matter their political convictions.
My kids are taught to think because secrets and freedom require a natural curiosity to go beyond the talking points, headlines or news releases about an event, program or idea. The natural questions of, “What aren’t they telling me?” and “How does this affect my freedom to live my life?” should be at the forefront of anything government does. Whether it’s from your favorite or most hated president or anyone who holds government power over us.
Every time I have a chat with my youngest daughter, I come back to the concept of curiosity. I’m not so worried about her conclusions as I am her method to get there and how to appreciate a differing point of view as long as someone did the curiosity work for themselves.
When my youngest comes home and says, “Only 7 percent of the protesters from the proceeding years of rioting were violent,” I want her to really look into the why, how and who benefits from saying that and go beyond the intellectual laziness and bias of the statement. I want her to think about what happened in Washington, D.C., and wonder why the same concept isn’t accepted, and then summarily dismissed, for what happened there.
I want her to wonder why the federal government can wrap up the Nashville bombing and close the case with 48 hours — never to be mentioned again in the press — but can’t identify who was arrested in D.C., let alone who they were aligned with. Curiosity should tell us those are secrets the government shouldn’t keep.
I want my youngest to ask why a false accusation of collusion involving Russia and President Donald Trump led to a three-year investigation, but bank records, videos and laptops of Biden family deals with China and bad actors across the globe can’t garner a headline? I want her to investigate why a politically motivated, lieutenant colonel can whistle blow on second-hand information and lead to an impeachment, but thousands of affidavits can’t lead to at least an investigation into mass voter fraud.
I know my answers because I’ve looked. None of the answers make anyone in our government look good. These are all covered up secrets, which always lead to a loss of freedom not for the bureaucracy, but the average American.
And we should all be curious as to why we continue to allow it.