". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Friday, November 26, 2010

History Lesson

Evan's birthday was in October and his baptismal birthday in November. To mark both occasions, his godparents gave him several gifts. One was this floor puzzle of the presidents from Melissa & Doug Toys :

It has totally captured Evan's imagination. He is at that stage of development where he loves lists and sequences. For the first few days after he got the puzzle he enjoyed showing it to whoever happened to be around. But soon it became clear that the question "Can I show you my president puzzle?" was an invitation not merely to see the box but to be treated to a catalogue of the presidents in order as he pointed to each and pronounced his name: "That's our first president. His name was George Washington. That's our second president. His name was John Adams." And so on, through all forty-four.

The fascination with the presidents has led to some history lessons. The lessons are brief, just a descriptive sentence or two so that Evan has something simple to latch on to: "George Washington was a general in the American Revolution." "Woodrow Wilson was president during World War I." (Evan is particularly interested in World War I these days since that's when that great Flying Ace, Snoopy, imagines himself fighting the Red Baron.)

Tonight at dinner the subject of President Obama came up. Evan is growing up in a strongly conservative Republican household and he long ago learned the bottom line about Mr. Obama. If asked about our President, he will unhesitatingly and definitively state: "Barack Obama is a socialist. He's ruining the country!"

And that's what happened tonight as we were getting dinner on the table. The name "Obama" came up (as it frequently does because we discuss politics a lot in our house), and my husband called across the kitchen to our son: "Evan, tell us about Barack Obama." Evan's reply came immediately:

"Barack Obama is a socialist! He's ruining the country!"

But that wasn't all. Tonight there was more.

"And so is William Jefferson Clinton. And James Earl 'Jimmy' Carter, Jr. They wanted to ruin the country, too!"

Oh, dear, how we laughed. I think I laughed, as much as anything, at my first grader's knowing and being able to pronounce without a hitch the presidents' full names, including first, middle, last, nicknames, and suffixes. I asked my husband if he taught Evan to say those things and he said no. At least, not in so many words. I think we are seeing some rather advanced thought on the part of our 7-year-old. Dad has said enough that Evan was able to put Clinton and Carter in the same category as Obama, which to him means they must have been country-ruining socialists, too. If the shoe fits . . . .

And to think Evan hasn't even put that puzzle together yet.


Dave Lambert said...

Evan sounds like quite the historian and conservative! I remember when our son Alex was 5 (in 2004) and he said "John Kerry is a liar." We were never sure where he came up with that. Since Obama was elected in 2008, we've been working hard to make sure that Alex knows we disagree with the policy positions of our President but also to honor his office and pray that he performs his duties for the good of our Nation.

Cheryl said...

" , , , we've been working hard to make sure that Alex knows we disagree with the policy positions of our President but also to honor his office and pray that he performs his duties for the good of our Nation."

Yes. Same here. We try to deal in facts, not personalities or emotions or name-calling. And I think the statement "Obama is a socialist; he's ruining the country" rises to that standard, dealing solely in the facts! I don't think our President wants to ruin the country. I think he believes in what he's doing. But he's wrong. And that's what we teach our kids.

Barbara Frank said...

I'm glad to see we're not the only family who celebrates baptism birthdays :)