The Land :: www.TheLandOnline.com

Nuts & Bolts

November 1, 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
Nuts & Bolts
  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 24, 2014

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 24, 2014

  • An oncologist uses scorpion venom to locate cancer cells

    Olson, a pediatric oncologist and research scientist in Seattle, has developed a compound he calls Tumor Paint. When injected into a cancer patient, it seems to light up all the malignant cells so surgeons can easily locate and excise them.

    July 24, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Afghanistan vet who ran to grenade gets Medal of Honor

    A former Marine Corps corporal who was severely wounded when he risked his life to shield a squad mate from a grenade blast in Afghanistan was awarded the nation's highest military decoration Thursday.

    June 20, 2014

  • May 2014 was the hottest may in recorded history

    According to new data released this week, May 2014 is officially the warmest May in recorded history.
    Both NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency have tentatively ranked May at the top of historical measurements, though NASA's numbers are preliminary because crucial information is still missing from China.

    June 20, 2014

  • Nelly-elephant.jpg Bet the farm: 5 'psychic' animals predict soccer victories

    Need some guidance on whom to place your bets for this year's World Cup? Since Paul the Octopus achieved a prediction success rate of 85 percent in 2010, hosts of animal oracles around the world have sought attention as soccer sages. Here's a look at a few of them.

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Is the FDA waging a war on artisanal cheese?

    Is the Food and Drug Administration waging a war on artisanal cheese?
    The answer depends on your perspective. But this much is certain: The agency's answer to New York regulators about using wooden boards to age cheese has caused an uproar in the domestic industry and raised questions about the status of imported cheeses that use the same process.

    June 12, 2014

  • Texting while driving is latest teen risk as smoking declines

    While smoking among American teens has fallen to a 22-year low, most adolescents admit to engaging in a new type of risky behavior: texting while driving.

    June 12, 2014

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
The Land's Twitter Feed